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HolT Hunter: Software for Identifying and Characterizing Low-Strain DNA Holliday Triangles

William B. Sherman
Journal / Anthology

Journal of Computational Chemistry
Year: 2012
Volume: 33
Issue: 15
Page range: 1393-1405

Synthetic DNA nanostructures are most commonly held together via Holliday junctions. These junctions allow for a wide variety of different angles between the double helices they connect. Nevertheless, only constructs with a very limited selection of angles have been built, to date, because of the computational complexity of identifying structures that fit together with low strain at odd angles. I have developed an algorithm that finds over 95% of the possible solutions by breaking the problem down into two portions. First, there is a problem of how smooth rods can form triangles by lying across one another. This problem is easily handled by numerical computation. Second, there is the question of how distorted DNA double helices would need to be to fit onto the rod structure. This strain is calculated directly. The algorithm has been implemented in a Mathematica 8 notebook called Holliday Triangle Hunter. A large database of solutions has been identified. Additional interface software is available to facilitate drawing and viewing models. VC 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.