Influence of a cis,syn-cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer damage on DNA conformation studied by molecular dynamics simulations

Biopolymers, 2015, 103 (4), 215–222,


The photo-induced formation of cis-syn-cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) is a highly mutagenic and cancerogenic DNA lesion. In bacteria photolyases can efficiently reverse the dimer formation employing a light-driven reaction after looping out the CPD damaged bases into the enzyme active site. The exact mechanism how the repair enzyme identifies a damaged site within a large surplus of undamaged DNA is not fully understood. The CPD damage may alter the DNA structure and dynamics already in the absence of the repair enzyme which can facilitate the initial binding of a photolyase repair enzyme. To characterize the effect of a CPD damage, extensive comparative molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on duplex DNA with central regular or CPD damaged nucleotides were performed supplemented with simulations of the DNA-photolyase complex. Although no spontaneous flipping out transitions of the damaged bases were observed, the simulations showed significant differences in the conformational states of regular and CPD damage DNA. The isolated damaged DNA adopted transient conformations which resembled the global shape of the repair enzyme bound conformation more closely compared to regular B-DNA. In particular, these conformational changes were observed in most of helical and structural parameters where the protein bound DNA differs drastically from regular B-DNA. It is likely that the transient overlap of isolated DNA with the enzyme bound DNA conformation plays a decisive role for the specific and rapid initial recognition by the repair enzyme prior to the looping out process of the damaged DNA.

TU München