Thymine DNA Glycosylase (TDG) is an enzyme of the base excision repair mechanism and removes damaged or mispaired bases from DNA via hydrolysis of the glycosidic bond. Specificity is of high importance for such a glycosylase, so as to avoid the damage of intact DNA. Among the substrates reported for TDG are mispaired uracil and thymine but also formyl-cytosine and carboxyl-cytosine. Methyl-cytosine and hydroxylmethyl-cytosine are, in contrast, not processed by the TDG enzyme. We have in this work employed molecular dynamics simulations to explore the conformational dynamics of DNA carrying a formyl-cytosine or carboxyl-cytosine and compared those to DNA with the non-cognate bases methyl-cytosine and hydroxylmethyl-cytosine, as amino and imino tautomers. Whereas for the mispairs a wobble conformation is likely decisive for recognition, all amino tautomers of formyl-cytosine and carboxyl-cytosine exhibit the same Watson–Crick conformation, but all imino tautomers indeed form wobble pairs. The conformational dynamics of the amino tautomers in free DNA do not exhibit differences that could be exploited for recognition, and also complexation to the TDG enzyme does not induce any alteration that would indicate preferable binding to one or the other oxidised methyl-cytosine. The imino tautomers, in contrast, undergo a shift in the equilibrium between a closed and a more open, partially flipped state, towards the more open form upon complexation to the TDG enzyme. This stabilisation of the more open conformation is most pronounced for the non-cognate bases methyl-cytosine and hydroxyl-cytosine and is thus not a likely mode for recognition. Moreover, calculated binding affinities for the different forms indicate the imino forms to be less likely in the complexed DNA. These findings, together with the low probability of imino tautomers in free DNA and the indifference of the complexed amino tautomers, suggest that discrimination of the oxidised methyl-cytosines does not take place in the initial complex formation.
thymine DNA glycosylase
amino imino tautomers
molecular dynamics simulations
alchemical free energy calculations
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik::530 Physik::530 Physik
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik::570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie::570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Interaction of Thymine DNA Glycosylase with Oxidised 5-Methyl-cytosines in Their Amino- and Imino-Forms
Institut für Theoretische Physik
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