Methods: X-Ray Crystallography, Potential Energy Calculations, and Spectroscopy

  • Wolfram Saenger
Part of the Springer Advanced Texts in Chemistry book series (SATC)


Nucleoside, nucleotide and nucleic acid structures have been elucidated mainly by X-ray crystallographic techniques. These methods provide information at different levels of detail depending on the molecular weight and organization of the material into crystalline or quasi-crystalline matrices. Readers not familiar with X-ray diffraction methods should be aware of the basic principles; they will then understand why the results of X-ray crystal structure analyses of small molecules up to the oligonucleotide level are unambiguous and why those of crystalline macromolecules like tRNA can, in some close details, be a matter of interpretation. Fiber diffraction analysis of quasi-crystalline polymers like DNA and RNA gives only approximate, overall structural information and cannot yield a satisfying structural model without additional data obtained by other methods.


Crystal Structure Analysis Structure Amplitude Nucleic Acid Structure Pitch Height Backbone Torsion Angle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfram Saenger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für KristallographieFreie UniversitätFederal Republic of Germany

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