Molecular models for DNA damaged by photoreaction

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Science  15 Mar 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4692, pp. 1304-1308
DOI: 10.1126/science.3975615

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Structural models of a DNA molecule containing a radiation-induced psoralen cross-link and of a DNA containing a thymine photodimer were constructed by applying energy-minimization techniques and model-building procedures to data from x-ray crystallographic studies. The helical axes of the models show substantial kinking and unwinding at the sites of the damage, which may have long-range as well as local effects arising from the concomitant changes in the supercoiling and overall structure of the DNA. The damaged areas may also serve as recognition sites for repair enzymes. These results should help in understanding the biologic effects of radiation-induced damage on cells.