The NMR resonances from the hydrogen-bonded guanine and thymine imino protons of base pairs in the four separate complexes forming the arms of a stable DNA four-arm junction have been assigned by using sequential nuclear Overhauser effects connecting protons in adjacent pairs. Comparison of the spectra of these individual duplex arms with that of the intact four-stranded junction suggests that base pairing occurs at the site of branching. The presence of new resonances in the spectrum of the junction can be inferred from comparison of the junction spectrum with the simulated spectra of the four individual arms. In addition, upfield shifts of the ring protons in the base pairs at the penultimate positions in the complex are observed, consistent with a change in the structure at the site of branching. These studies represent the first stage of a detailed analysis of the structure and dynamics of a DNA junction.
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