Environmental influences on dna curvature

David W. Ussery, Christopher F. Higgins, Alexander Bolshoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA curvature plays an important role in many biological processes. To study environmental influences on DNA curvature we compared the anomalous migration on Polyacrylamide gels of ligation ladders of 11 specifically-designed oligonucleotides. At low temperatures (25°C and below) most of the sequences exhibited a degree of anomalous migration. Increased temperature had a significant effect on the anomalous migration (curvature) of some sequences but limited effects on others; at 50°C only 1 sequence migrated anomalously. Mg2+ had a strong influence on the migration of certain sequences, whilst spermine enhanced the anomalous migration of a different set of sequences. Sequences with a GGC motif exhibited greater curvature than predicted by the presently-used angles for the nearest- neighbour wedge model and are especially sensitive to Mg2+. The data have implications for models for DNA curvature and for environmentally-sensitive DNA conformations in the regulation of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-823
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Wellcome Trust. CFH is a Howard Hughes International Research Scholar. AB was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation, the "B. de Rothschild Fund for the Advancement of Science in Israel", the National Laboratory for Bioinformatics and DNA Sequencing of the Israel Council for Higher Education.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


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