Photoinduced DNA Lesions in Dormant Bacteria. The Peculiar Route Leading to Spore Photoproduct Unraveled by Multiscale Molecular Dynamics

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. Frances-MonerrisAntonio MONARI


Some bacterial species enter a dormant state in the form of spores to resist to unfavorable external conditions. Spores are resistant to a wide series of stress agents, including UV radiation, and can last for tens to hundreds of years. Due to the suspension of biological functions such as DNA repair, they accumulate DNA damage upon exposure to UV radiation. Differently from active organisms, the most common DNA photoproduct in spores are not cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, but rather the so-called spore photoproduct. This non-canonical photochemistry results from the dry state of DNA and the binding to small acid soluble proteins that drastically modify the structure and photoreactivity of the nucleic acid. In this contribution, we use multiscale molecular dynamics simulations including extended classical molecular dynamics and QM/MM biased dynamics to elucidate the coupling of electronic and structural factors leading to this photochemical outcome. In particular, we rationalize the well-described impact of the peculiar DNA environment found in spores on the favored formation of the spore photoproduct, given the small free energy barrier found for this path. Meanwhile, the specific organization of spore DNA precludes the photoc...Continue Reading

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