Solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy of a series of crystalline nucleosides and nucleotides allows direct measurement of the effect of the deoxyribose ring conformation on the carbon chemical shift. It is found that 3'-endo conformers have 3' and 5' chemical shifts significantly (5-10 ppm) upfield of comparable 3'-exo and 2'-endo conformers. The latter two conformers may be distinguished by smaller but still significant differences in the carbon chemical shifts at the C-2' and C-4' positions. High-resolution solid-state NMR of three modifications of fibrous calf thymus DNA shows that these trends are maintained in high-molecular-weight DNA and confirms that the major ring pucker in A-DNA is 3'-endo, while both B-DNA and C-DNA are largely 2'-endo. The data show that 13C NMR spectroscopy is a straightforward and useful probe of DNA ring pucker in both solution and the solid state.
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