The interactions of ruthenium hexaammine with z-dna:Crystal structure of a ru(nh3˜3 salt of d(cgcgcg) at 1.2 a resolution

Pui S. Ho, Christin A. Frederick, Daniel Saal, Andrew H.J. Wang, Alexander Rich

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71 Citations (Scopus)


A crystal of d(CGCGCG) in the Z-DNA lattice was soaked with ruthenium(III) hexaammine and its structure refined at 1.2 A resolution. Three unique metal complexes were found adsorbed to each hexamer duplex. In addition, two symmetry-related binding sites were located, yielding a total of five ruthenium complexes bound to each d(CGCGCG) duplex. One unique site and its symmetry related site are nearly identical to the binding site of cobalt(III) hexaammine on Z-DNA At that position, the metal complex bridges the convex surfaces of two adjacent Z-DNA strands by hydrogen bonds to the N7 and 06 functional groups of the guanine bases. The remaining three ruthenium(III) hexaammine binding sites are not present in the cobalt(III) hexaammine Z-DNA structure. Of these, two are related by symmetry and span the gap between the convex outer surface of one Z-DNA strand and the helical groove crevice of a neighboring strand. The third ruthenium site has no symmetry mate and involves interactions with only the deep groove. In this interaction, the metal complex hydrogen bonds to both the phosphate backbone and to a set of primary shell water molecules that extend the hydrogen bonding potential of the deep groove crevice out to the surface of the molecule. Solution studies comparing the circular dichroism spectra of lowsalt poly(dG-dC) · poly(dG-dC) samples in the presence ofruthenium(III) and cobalt(III) hexa-ammine show that the ruthenium complex does stabilize Z-DNA in solution, but not as effectively as the cobalt analogue. This suggests that some of the interactions available for the larger ruthenium complex may not be important for stabilization of the left-handed DNA conformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-534
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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