Experimental studies involving the carcinogenic aromatic amine 2- (acetylamino)fluorene (AAF) have afforded two acetylated DNA adducts, the major one bound to C8 of guanine and a minor adduct bound to N2 of guanine. The minor adduct may be impotent in carcinogenesis because it persists, while the major adduct is rapidly repaired. Primer extension studies of the minor adduct have indicated that it blocks DNA synthesis, with some bypass and misincorporation of adenine opposite the lesion [Shibutani, S., and Grollman, A. P. (1993) Chem. Res. Toxicol. 6, 819-824]. No experimental structural information is available for this adduct. Extensive minimized potential energy searches involving thousands of trials and molecular dynamics simulations were used to study the conformation of this adduct in three sequences: I, d(C1-G2-C3-[AAF]G4-C5-G6-C7)·d(G8-C9-G10-C11-G12-C13- G14); II, the sequence of Shibutani and Grollman, d(C1-T2-A3-[AAF]G4-T5-C6- A7)·d(T8-G9-A10-C11-T12-A13-G14); and III, which is the same as II but with a mismatched adenine in position 11, opposite the lesion. AAF was located in the minor groove in the low-energy structures of all sequences. In the lowest energy form of the C3-[AAF]G4-C5 sequence I, the fluorenyl rings point in the 3' direction along the modified strand and the acetyl in the 5' direction. These orientations are reversed in the second lowest energy structure of this sequence, and the energy of this structure is 1.4 kcal/mol higher. Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding is intact in both structures. In the two lowest energy structures of the A3-[AAF]G4-T5 sequence II, the AAF is also located in the minor groove with Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding intact. However, in the lowest energy form, the fluorenyl rings point in the 5' direction and the acetyl in the 3' direction. The energy of the structure with opposite orientation is 5.1 kcal/mol higher. In sequence III with adenine mismatched to the modified guanine, the lowest energy form also had the fluorenyl rings oriented 5' in the minor groove with intact Watson- Crick base pairing. However, the mispaired adenine adopts a syn orientation with Hoogsteen pairing to the modified guanine. These results suggest that the orientation of the AAF in the minor groove may be DNA sequence dependent. Mobile aspects of favored structures derived from molecular dynamics simulations with explicit solvent and salt support the essentially undistorting nature of this lesion, which is in harmony with its persistence in mammalian systems.
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