Monte Carlo Approach in Assessing Damage in Higher Order Structures of DNA

  • Aloke Chatterjee
  • James B. Schmidt
  • William R. Holley
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 63)


We have developed a computer model of nuclear DNA in the form of chromatin fiber. The fibers are modeled as an ideal solenoid consisting of twenty helical turns with six nucleosomes per turn. The chromatin model, in combination with our Monte Carlo theory of radiation damage induced by charged particles, based on general features of track structure and stopping power theory, has been used to evaluate the influence of DNA structure on initial damage. An interesting feature has emerged from our calculations. Our calculated results predict the existence of strong spatial correlations in damage sites associated with the symmetries in the solenoidal model. We have calculated spectra of short fragments of double stranded DNA produced by multiple double strand breaks induced by both high and low LET radiation. The spectra exhibit peaks at multiples of ~85 base pairs (the nucleosome periodicity), and ~ 1000 base pairs (solenoid periodicity). Preliminary experiments to investigate the fragment distributions from irradiated DNA, made by B. Rydberg at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, confirm the existence of short DNA fragments and are in substantial agreement with the predictions of our theory.


Strand Break Double Strand Break Short Fragment Chromatin Fiber Track Structure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aloke Chatterjee
    • 1
  • James B. Schmidt
    • 1
  • William R. Holley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Life Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley LaboratoryUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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