How trehalose protects DNA in the dry state: a molecular dynamics simulation
Molecular dynamics simulations were conducted on a system consisting of a decamer DNA solvated by trehalose and water (molecular ratio= 1:2), to mimic a relatively dry state for the DNA molecule. Simulations were performed at two different temperatures, 300 K and 450 K. The B-form DNA structure was shown to be stable at both temperatures. The analysis of hydrogen bonds between trehalose/water and DNA revealed that trehalose and backbone DNA formed the largest number of hydrogen bonds and thus constituted the major effect of structural protection for DNA. The number of hydrogen bonds formed by each OH group of trehalose with the backbone DNA was compared. Different types of trehalose-DNA interactions were analyzed, with no prevalent pattern recognized. Diffusion constants for trehalose and water were also calculated, suggesting a glassy/viscose state of the simulation system. It is believed that trehalose protects DNA in the dry state through the network of hydrogen bonds built by the sugars, which reduces the structural fluctuations of DNA and prevents its denaturation.
Fu, Xuebing (2008). How trehalose protects DNA in the dry state: a molecular dynamics simulation. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from