DNA double helices recognize mutual sequence homology in a protein free environment.
Baldwin GS, Brooks NJ, Robson RE, Wynveen A, Goldar A, Leikin S, Seddon JM, Kornyshev AA
Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2008)
Category: DNA recombination, DNA structure ¤ Added: Mar 13, 2008 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
The structure and biological function of the DNA double helix are based on interactions recognizing sequence complementarity between two single strands of DNA. A single DNA strand can also recognize the double helix sequence by binding in its groove and forming a triplex. We now find that sequence recognition occurs between intact DNA duplexes without any single-stranded elements as well. We have imaged a mixture of two fluorescently tagged, double helical DNA molecules that have identical nucleotide composition and length (50% GC; 294 base pairs) but different sequences. In electrolytic solution at minor osmotic stress, these DNAs form discrete liquid-crystalline aggregates (spherulites). We have observed spontaneous segregation of the two kinds of DNA within each spherulite, which reveals that nucleotide sequence recognition occurs between double helices separated by water in the absence of proteins, consistent with our earlier theoretical hypothesis. We thus report experimental evidence and discuss possible mechanisms for the recognition of homologous DNAs from a distance.