DNA repeat domains implicated in DNA expansion diseases exhibit complex conformational and energy landscapes that impact biological outcomes. These landscapes include ensembles of entropically driven positional interchanges between isoenergetic, isomeric looped states referred to as rollamers. Here, we present evidence for the position-dependent impact on repeat DNA energy landscapes of an oxidative lesion (8oxodG) and of an abasic site analogue (tetrahydrofuran, F), the universal intermediate in base excision repair (BER). We demonstrate that these lesions modulate repeat bulge loop distributions within the wider dynamic rollamer triplet repeat landscapes. We showed that the presence of a lesion disrupts the energy degeneracy of the rollameric positional isomers. This lesion-induced disruption leads to the redistribution of loop isomers within the repeat loop rollamer ensemble, favoring those rollameric isomers where the lesion is positioned to be energetically least disruptive. These dynamic ensembles create a highly complex energy/conformational landscape of potential BER enzyme substrates to select for processing or to inhibit processing. We discuss the implications of such lesion-induced alterations in repeat DNA energy landscapes in the context of potential BER repair outcomes, thereby providing a biophysical basis for the intriguing in vivo observation of a linkage between pathogenic triplet repeat expansion and DNA repair.
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