Combined NMR-molecular mechanics computational studies were undertaken on the C8-deoxyguanosine adduct formed by the carcinogen 1-nitropyrene embedded in the d(C5-[AP]G6-C7)·d(G16-C17-G18) sequence context in a 11-mer duplex, with dC opposite the modified deoxyguanosine. The exchangeable and nonexchangeable protons of the aminopyrene moiety and the nucleic acid were assigned following analysis of two-dimensional NMR data sets in H2O and D2O solution. There was a general broadening of several proton resonances for the three nucleotide d(G16-C17-G18) segment positioned opposite the [AP]dG6 lesion site resulting in weaker NOEs involving these protons in the adduct duplex. The solution conformation of the [AP]dG·dC 11-mer duplex has been determined by incorporating intramolecular and intermolecular proton-proton distances defined by upper and lower bounds deduced from NOESY spectra as restraints in molecular mechanics computations in torsion angle space. The aminopyrene ring of [AP]dG6 is intercalated into the DNA helix between intact Watson-Crick dC5·dG18 and dC7·dG16 base pairs. The modified deoxyguanosine ring of [AP]dG6 is displaced into the major groove and stacks with the major groove edge of dC5 in the adduct duplex. Both carbon and proton chemical shift data for the sugar resonances of the modified deoxyguanosine residue are consistent with a syn glycosidic torsion angle for the [AP]dG6 residue. The dC17 base on the partner strand is displaced from the center of the helix toward the major groove as a consequence of the aminopyrene ring intercalation into the helix. This base-displaced intercalative structure of the [AP]dG·dC 11-mer duplex exhibits several unusually shifted proton resonances which can be accounted for by the ring current contributions of the deoxyguanosinyl and pyrenyl rings of the [AP]dG6 adduct. In summary, intercalation of the aminopyrene moiety is accompanied by displacement of both [AP]dG6 and the partner dC17 into the major groove in the [AP]dG·dC 11- mer duplex.
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