Utilizing Molecular Dynamics' Multipotent Methodologies to Measure Microscopic Motions of DNA Molecules: A Magniloquent Manuscript on DNA’s Means and Mannerisms
Kingsland, Addie H.
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DNA is an amazing molecule which is the basic template for all genetics. It is the primary molecule for storing biological information, and has many applications in nanotechnology. Double-stranded DNA may contain mismatched base pairs beyond the Watson-Crick pairs guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine. To date, no one has found a physical property of base pair mismatches which describes the behavior of naturally occurring mismatch repair enzymes. Many materials properties of DNA are also unknown, for instance, when pulling DNA in different configurations, different energy differences are observed with no obvious reason why. DNA mismatches also affect their local environment, for instance changing the quantum yield of nearby azobenzene moieties. We utilize molecular dynamics computer simulations to study the structure and dynamics for both matched and mismatched base pairs, within both biological and materials contexts, and in both equilibrium and biased dynamics. We show that mismatched pairs shift further in the plane normal to the DNA strand and are more likely to exhibit non-canonical structures, including the e-motif. Base pair mismatches alter their local environment, affecting the trans- to cis- photoisomerization quantum yield of azobenzene, as well as increasing the likelihood of observing the e-motif. We also show that by using simulated data, we can give new insights on theoretical models to calculate the energetics of pulling DNA strands apart. These results, all relatively inexpensive on modern computer hardware, can help guide the design of DNA-based nanotechnologies, as well as give new insights into the functioning of mismatch repair systems in cancer prevention.
- Chemistry