The left-handed Z structures of two hexamers [d(CG)r(CG)d(CG) and d(CG)(araC)d(GCG)] containing ribose and arabinose residues have been solved by X-ray diffraction analysis at 1.5-Å resolution. Their conformations closely resemble that of the canonical Z-DNA. The O2' hydroxyl groups of both rC and araC residues form intramolecular hydrogen bonds with N2 of the 5' guanine residue and replace the bridging water molecules in the deep groove of Z-DNA, which stabilize the guanine in the syn conformation. The araC residue can be incorporated into the Z structure readily and facilitates B to Z transition, as supported by UV absorption spectroscopic studies. In contrast, in Z-RNA the ribose of the cytidine residue is twisted in order to form the respective hydrogen bond. The potential biological roles of the modified Z-DNA containing anticancer nucleoside araC and of Z-RNA are discussed.
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