Decoding DNA Structure using NMR Spectroscopy
Pp. 144-163 (20)
Mahima Kaushik, Swati Chaudhary, Sonia Khurana, Komal Mehra and Shrikant Kukreti
During the past few decades, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
spectroscopy has been extensively used for decoding the nucleic acid structure. The
presence of nuclei possessing net spin (1H, 13C, 15N and 31P) in the basic unit of DNA
makes it a befitting subject to be studied, utilizing the tenets of NMR spectroscopy.
Apart from elucidating the structure, magnetic resonance spectroscopy also uncovers
the strand multiplicity and thereby successfully differentiates among various secondary
structures of DNA, for instance, duplex, hairpin, triplex, i-motif and quadruplex.
NMR spectroscopy also unravels interactions of nucleic acids with ligands like drugs,
mutagens, and proteins. The highlighting feature in elucidating the structure and
dynamics of DNA interaction with ligands is that these studies can be conducted in
their natural solution environment. The interpretation of structural and chemical basis
of ligands is very crucial for the development of new therapeutic agents. NMR
parameters like coupling constant and peak integration successfully shed light on
integral features of DNA structure such as glycosidic bond angles, sugar pucker
conformations and dihedral angles. Other geometrical properties including bent helices,
coaxial stacking and non-Watson-Crick base pairing can also be explored using NMR
This chapter aims to provide a paradigm to understand the features of 1H, 31P, 13C NMR
spectroscopy involved in the determination of nucleic acid structure. It also outlines the
characteristic features of NMR spectra, which are associated with various DNA
Applications of NMR, NMR of DNA, NMR of DNA triplex, NMR of
Duplex, NMR of Quadruplex, NMR Spectroscopy.
Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.