An extensive conformational analysis has been carried out for two diastereoisomeric pairs of model estrogen quinone-derived DNA adducts, N 6-(2-hydroxyestron-6(α,β)-yl)-2′-deoxyadenosine (2-OHE1-6(α,β)-N6-dA) and N 2-(2-hydroxyestron-6(α,β)-yl)-2′-deoxyguanosine (2-OHE1-6(α,β)-N2-dG), in a B-DNA duplex and at a primer-template junction in a pol α family DNA polymerase. In vitro primer extension studies in pol α [Terashima, I., et al. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 13807-13815] have shown that the adenine adducts can incorporate dT, together with a small proportion of the incorrect base dC opposite the lesion, and they block less strongly than the guanine adducts. We have carried out conformational searches with energy minimization for four DNA duplexes containing 2-OHE1-6α-N6-dA, 2-OHE 1-6β-N6-dA, 2-OHE1-6α-N 2-dG, or 2-OHE1-6β-N2-dG. Our searches revealed that the four-ring nonplanar 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) moiety strongly prefers to reside in the major groove of the adenine adducts or the minor groove of the guanine adducts in a B-DNA duplex, with stereochemistry-dependent orientational differences in each case. No low energy conformations involving intercalation of the 2-OHE1 moiety were located in the searches. This stems from the largely nonplanar, nonaromatic nature of the 2-OHE1 ring system and implies that the proclivity for such bulky, nonplanar adducts to reside at the DNA helix exterior is a plausible conformational feature of other structurally similar estrogen quinone-derived DNA adducts, independent of base sequence context. In addition, the adenine adduct isomers, located in the major groove, manifest serious disturbance to the Watson-Crick base pairs at and near the lesion site, suggesting repair susceptibility. Possible structures of these adducts in a pol α family polymerase were also investigated through molecular modeling. The results rationalized the experimental in vitro primer extension studies. In addition, poor accommodation of the β-stereoisomers within the polymerase was noted, suggesting that these stereoisomers would be more prone to cause blockage. Stereochemistry-dependent differences in adduct orientation could be expected to produce different biochemical effects, as has been observed in adducts derived from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
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