Thermodynamic coupling of the loop and stem in unusually stable DNA hairpins closed by CG base pairs

Ellen M. Moody, Philip C. Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


For certain DNA hairpin loops, a CG closing base pair has enhanced stability over other closing base pairs, which cannot be explained by the current nearest-neighbor model. We report the use of three-carbon (C3) spacers to investigate the expandability of DNA hairpin loops and the coupling between the loop and closing base pair. Inserting the C3-spacers at most positions in these model loops produced only a modest stabilization or destabilization except for insertion between the 5′ end of the loop and the CG closing base pair, which gave a large destabilization. Further investigation on tetraloops and triloops with other closing base pairs established that this destabilization is specific to the unusually stable CG closing base pair. Studies with the nucleotide analogues 2-aminopurine and 2,6-diaminopurine indicated that this stabilization may be due to coupling between functional groups on the first base of the loop and the CG closing base pair. The C3-spacers provide a simple way to interrupt potential interactions and thereby probe loop/stem coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2032-2033
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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