The NMR structure of [Xd(C2)]4 investigated by molecular dynamics simulations

Thérèse E. Malliavin, Karim Snoussi, Jean Louis Leroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The i-motif tetrameric structure is built up from two parallel duplexes intercalated in a head-to-tail orientation, and held together by hemiprotonated cytosine pairs. Two topologies exist for the i-motif structure, one with outermost 3′ extremities and the other with outermost 5′ extremities, called the 3′E and 5′E topology, respectively. Since the comparison of sugar and phosphate group interactions between the two topologies is independent of the length of the intercalation motif, the relative stability of the 3′E and 5′E topologies therefore should not depend on this length. Nevertheless, it has been shown that the 3′E topology of the [d(C2)]4 is much more stable than the 5′E topology, and that the former is the only species observed in solution. In order to understand the reason for this atypical behavior, the NMR structure of the [Xd(C2)]4 was determined and analyzed by molecular dynamics simulations. In the NMR structure, the width of the narrow groove is slightly smaller than in previously determined i-motif structures, which supports the importance of phosphodiester backbone interactions in the structure stability. The simulations show that the stacking of cytosines, essential for the i-motif stability, is produced by a similar and non-negative twisting of the phosphodiester backbones. The twisting is induced by an interaction between the backbones; the [Xd(C2)]4 in 5′E topology, exhibiting very limited interaction between the phosphodiester backbones, is thus unstable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA structure
  • I-motif
  • Molecular dynamics
  • NMR
  • Proton exchange
  • Protonated cytidine
  • [Xd(C2)]4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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