10.14 B-DNA consists of an alpha helix with approximately 10 bases per turn. (a) Diagrammatic representation showing that the bases are 0.34 nanometer (nm) apart, that each rotation encompasses 3.4 nm, and that the diameter of the helix is 2 nm. (b) Space-filling model of B-DNA showing major and minor grooves.
each base pair is twisted 36 degrees relative to the adjacent bases (see Figure 10.14a). The base pairs are 0.34 nanometer (nm) apart; so each complete rotation of the molecule encompasses 3.4 nm. The diameter of the helix is 2 nm, and the bases are perpendicular to the long axis of the DNA molecule. A space-filling model shows that B-DNA has a relatively slim and elongated structure (see Figure 10.14b). Spiraling of the nucleotide strands creates major and minor grooves in the helix, features that are important for the binding of some DNA-binding proteins that regulate the expression of genetic information (Chapter 16). Some characteristics of the B-DNA structure, along with characteristics of other secondary structures that exist under certain conditions or with unusual base sequences, are given in Table 10.2.
Nable 1U.2 Characteristics of DNA secondary structures
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