Journal article

cgDNA: a software package for the prediction of sequence-dependent coarse-grain free energies of B-form DNA

cgDNA is a package for the prediction of sequence-dependent configuration-space free energies for B-form DNA at the coarse-grain level of rigid bases. For a fragment of any given length and sequence, cgDNA calculates the configuration of the associated free energy minimizer, i.e. the relative positions and orientations of each base, along with a stiffness matrix, which together govern differences in free energies. The model predicts non-local (i.e. beyond base-pair step) sequence dependence of the free energy minimizer. Configurations can be input or output in either the Curves+definition of the usual helical DNA structural variables, or as a PDB file of coordinates of base atoms. We illustrate the cgDNA package by comparing predictions of free energy minimizers from (a) the cgDNA model, (b) time-averaged atomistic molecular dynamics (or MD) simulations, and (c) NMR or Xray experimental observation, for (i) the Dickerson-Drew dodecamer and (ii) three oligomers containing A-tracts. The cgDNA predictions are rather close to those of the MD simulations, but many orders of magnitude faster to compute. Both the cgDNA and MD predictions are in reasonable agreement with the available experimental data. Our conclusion is that cgDNA can serve as a highly efficient tool for studying structural variations in B-form DNA over a wide range of sequences.


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