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Structure of the oligonucleotide d(CGTATATACG) as a site-specific complex with nickel ions.

In this paper we explore the application of Ni2+to the crystallization of oligonucleotides. We have determined in this way the structure of a fully alternating (Y-R) decanucleotide d(CGTATATACG) by single crystal X-ray diffraction. This is the first oligonucleotide crystal structure with an alternating 5'-(TA)3-3' central part. Alternating oligonucleotides have a particular interest since they often have a unique structure. In this case the general conformation is B-like with an alternating twist and an end-to-end interaction which involves terminal guanines. The crystal belongs to space group P41212 with a = b = 52.46, c = 101.49 A. This packing imposes a 90 degrees crossing of the symmetry related helices. This is a new way of packing for decamers.The oligonucleotide structure is characterized by the specific association with seven nickel ions, involving the N7 atom of every guanine. One of the Ni2+ions is shared between two guanines of symmetry related molecules. Until now no oligonucleotide has been crystallized in the presence of this metal ion. A novel C.A.T triplet structure has also been tentatively identified.