The electrostatic contribution to DNA base-stacking interactions.
Base-stacking and phosphate-phosphate interactions in B-DNA are studied using the finite difference Poisson-Boltzmann equation. Interaction energies and dielectric constants are calculated and compared to the predictions of simple dielectric models. No extant simple dielectric model adequately describes phosphate-phosphate interactions. Electrostatic effects contribute negligibly to the sequence and conformational dependence of base-stacking interactions. Electrostatic base-stacking interactions can be adequately modeled using the Hingerty screening function. The repulsive and dispersive Lennard-Jones interactions dominate the dependence of the stacking interactions on roll, tilt, twist, and propellor. The Lennard-Jones stacking energy in ideal B-DNA is found to be essentially independent of sequence.