DNA Base Sequence Effects on Bulky Lesion-Induced Conformational Heterogeneity during DNA Replication
4-Aminobiphenyl (ABP) and its structure analog 2-aminofluorene (AF) are well-known carcinogens. In the present work, an unusual sequence effect in the 5′-CTTCTG1G2TCCTCATTC-3′ DNA duplex is reported for ABP- and AF-modified G. Specifically, the ABP modification at G1 resulted in a mixture of 67% major groove B-type (B) and 33% stacked (S) conformers, while at the ABP modification at G2 exclusively resulted in the B-conformer. The AF modification at G1 and G2 lead to 25%:75% and 83%:17% B:S population ratios, respectively. These differences in preferred conformation are due to an interplay between stabilizing (hydrogen bonding and stacking that is enhanced by lesion planarity) and destabilizing (solvent exposure) forces at the lesion site. Furthermore, while the B-conformer is a thermodynamic stabilizer and the S-conformer is a destabilizer in duplex settings, the situation is reversed at the single strands/double strands (ss/ds) junction. Specifically, the twisted biphenyl is a better stacker at the ss/ds junction than the coplanar AF. Therefore, the ABP modification leads to a stronger strand binding affinity of the ss/ds junction than the AF modification. Overall, the current work provides conformational insights into the role of sequence and lesion effects in modulating DNA replication.