Main content area

Monte Carlo calculations of ion distributions surrounding the oligonucleotide d (ATATATATAT)2 in the B, A, and wrinkled D concentrations

Mills, P.A., Rashid, A., James, T.L.
Biopolymers 1992 v.32 no.11 pp. 1491-1501
Monte Carlo method, A-DNA, ions, DNA conformation
We calculated the uni-univalent ion distributions around the oligonucleotide d(AT)5.d(AT)5 in the A, B and wrinkled D conformation using the Metropolis Monte Carlo method. All atoms were included in the oligonucleotide model with partial charges and hard sphere radii assigned to each atom. The univalent counter- and coions were modeled as hard spheres with radius 0.3 nm. The solvent was assigned a dielectric constant of 80, corresponding to a temperature of 298K. The counterion distribution surrounding each of the conformers and the distribution surrounding an impenetrable cylinder, were calculated for four salt concentrations. We found significant counterion density in the major groove of the A DNA while fewer counterions occupied the grooves of B DNA. In the wrinkled D DNA, where groove occupancy is sterically hindered, the ion distributions were identical to the distributions surrounding the impenetrable, cylindrical model. This suggests that excluded volume effects significantly influence the details of the ion distributions near the oligomer, while the detailed charge distributions of the oligomer affects the ion distributions only minimally. Although substantial variation in counterion density was observed near the oligomers of differing conformations, the total number of counterions located within a cylinder surrounding the oligomer bounded radially by 2.4 nm was independent of the conformation of the oligomer. Therefore, for this model system, the local univalent counterion distributions are extremely sensitive to the geometry of the oligonucleotide whereas the extent of neutralization of the oligoanion is insensitive to the conformation of the oligomer.