Molecular dynamics simulations and geometry optimizations carried out at the quantum level as well as by quantum mechanical/molecular mechanics methods predict that short, single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides adopt conformations very similar to those observed in crystallographic double-stranded B-DNA, with rise coordinates close to approximate to 3.3 angstrom. In agreement with the experimental evidence, the computational results show that DNA single strands rich in adjacent purine nucleobases assume more regular arrangements than poly-thymine. The preliminary results suggest that single-stranded poly-cytosine DNA should also retain a substantial helical order in solution. A comparison of the structures of single and double helices confirms that the B-DNA motif is a favorable arrangement also for single strands. Indeed, the optimal geometry of the complementary single helices is changed to a very small extent in the formation of the duplex.
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