DNA tetraplex formation studied with fluorescence resonance energy transfer.
It is emerging that DNA tetraplexes are pivotal for many major cellular processes, and techniques that assess their structure and nature to the point are under development. Here we show how the structural conversion of largely unstructured single-stranded DNA molecules into compact intrastrand DNA tetraplexes can be monitored by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. We recently reported that intrastrand tetraplex formation takes place in a nuclease hypersensitive element upstream of the human c-myc proto-oncogene. Despite the highly repetitive guanine-rich sequence of the hypersensitive element, fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements indicate that only one well defined tetraplex structure forms therein. The proposed structure, which is specifically stabilized by potassium ions in vitro, has a core of three stacked guanine tetrads that is capped by two intrastrand A-T base pairs. (+info)
6-Thioguanine alters the structure and stability of duplex DNA and inhibits quadruplex DNA formation.
The ability to chemically synthesize biomolecules has opened up the opportunity to observe changes in structure and activity that occur upon single atom substitution. In favorable cases this can provide information about the roles of individual atoms. The substitution of 6-thioguanine (6SG) for guanine is a potentially very useful single atom substitution as 6SG has optical, photocrosslinking, metal ion binding and other properties of potential utility. In addition, 6-mercaptopurine is a clinically important pro-drug that is activated by conversion into 6SG by cells. The results presented here indicate that the presence of 6SG blocks the formation of quadruplex DNA. The presence of 6SG alters the structure and lowers the thermal stability of duplex DNA, but duplex DNA can be formed in the presence of 6SG. These results indicate that some of the cytotoxic activity of 6SG may be due to disruption of the quadruplex structures formed by telomere and other DNAs. This additional mode of action is consistent with the delayed onset of cytotoxicity. (+info)
The 3' non-coding region of the Drosophila melanogaster HeT-A telomeric retrotransposon contains sequences with propensity to form G-quadruplex DNA.
HeT-A elements are non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons added onto the Drosophila chromosome ends. We have investigated the formation in vitro of higher order structures by oligonucleotides derived from the 3' non-coding region of HeT-A elements and found that they are capable of forming G-quadruplex DNA. These results suggest that the 3' repeat region of HeT-A may structurally behave as the telomeric repeats common to a majority of eukaryotes. The presence of structural motifs shared by telomeres and centromeres and the implications of these findings for chromosome evolution are discussed. (+info)
The effect of sodium, potassium and ammonium ions on the conformation of the dimeric quadruplex formed by the Oxytricha nova telomere repeat oligonucleotide d(G(4)T(4)G(4)).
The DNA sequence d(G(4)T(4)G(4)) [Oxy-1.5] consists of 1.5 units of the repeat in telomeres of Oxytricha nova and has been shown by NMR and X-ray crystallographic analysis to form a dimeric quadruplex structure with four guanine-quartets. However, the structure reported in the X-ray study has a fundamentally different conformation and folding topology compared to the solution structure. In order to elucidate the possible role of different counterions in this discrepancy and to investigate the conformational effects and dynamics of ion binding to G-quadruplex DNA, we compare results from further experiments using a variety of counterions, namely K(+), Na(+)and NH(4)(+). A detailed structure determination of Oxy-1.5 in solution in the presence of K(+)shows the same folding topology as previously reported with the same molecule in the presence of Na(+). Both conformations are symmetric dimeric quadruplexes with T(4)loops which span the diagonal of the end quartets. The stack of quartets shows only small differences in the presence of K(+)versus Na(+)counterions, but the T(4)loops adopt notably distinguishable conformations. Dynamic NMR analysis of the spectra of Oxy-1.5 in mixed Na(+)/K(+)solution reveals that there are at least three K(+)binding sites. Additional experiments in the presence of NH(4)(+)reveal the same topology and loop conformation as in the K(+)form and allow the direct localization of three central ions in the stack of quartets and further show that there are no specific NH(4)(+)binding sites in the T(4)loop. The location of bound NH(4)(+)with respect to the expected coordination sites for Na(+)binding provides a rationale for the difference observed for the structure of the T(4)loop in the Na(+)form, with respect to that observed for the K(+)and NH(4)(+)forms. (+info)
RecG helicase activity at three- and four-strand DNA structures.
The RecG helicase of Escherichia coli is necessary for efficient recombination and repair of DNA in vivo and has been shown to catalyse the unwinding of DNA junctions in vitro. Despite these findings, the precise role of RecG remains elusive. However, models have been proposed in which RecG promotes the resolution of linked duplexes by targeting three-strand junctions present at D-loops. One such model postulates that RecG catalyses the formation of four-strand (Holliday) junctions from three-strand junctions. To test this model, the DNA binding and unwinding activities of RecG were analysed using synthetic three- and four-strand junctions. The substrate specificity of RecG was found to depend critically on the concentrations of ATP and MgCl(2)and under certain conditions RecG preferentially unwound three-strand junction DNA. This was at least partly due to the larger inhibitory effect of MgCl(2)on the binding of four-strand as opposed to three-strand junctions by RecG. Thus RecG may be targeted to three-strand junctions in vivo whilst still being able to branch migrate the four-strand junctions formed as a result of the initial helicase reaction. The increase in the dissociation constant of RecG on conversion of a three-strand into a four-strand junction may also facilitate resolution of the four-strand junction by the RuvABC complex. (+info)
NB-506, an indolocarbazole topoisomerase I inhibitor, binds preferentially to triplex DNA.
A novel competition dialysis method was used to study the structural selectivity of the nucleic acid binding of NB-506, a promising indolocarbazole anticancer agent. A pronounced preference for NB-506 binding to the DNA triplex poly [dA]:(poly[dT])(2) was observed among potential binding to 12 different nucleic acid structures and sequences. Structures included in the assay ranged from single-stranded DNA, through a variety of right-handed DNA duplexes, to multistranded triplex and tetraplex forms. RNA and left-handed Z DNA were also included in the assay. The preferential binding to triplex was confirmed by UV melting experiments. The novel and unexpected structural selectivity shown by NB-506 may arise from a complementary shape between its extended aromatic ring system and the planar triplex stack. (+info)
Tetraplex formation by the progressive myoclonus epilepsy type-1 repeat: implications for instability in the repeat expansion diseases.
The repeat expansion diseases are a group of genetic disorders resulting from an increase in size or expansion of a specific array of tandem repeats. It has been suggested that DNA secondary structures are responsible for this expansion. If this is so, we would expect that all unstable repeats should form such structures. We show here that the unstable repeat that causes progressive myoclonus epilepsy type-1 (EPM1), like the repeats associated with other diseases in this category, forms a variety of secondary structures. However, EPM1 is unique in that tetraplexes are the only structures likely to form in long unpaired repeat tracts under physiological conditions. (+info)
Telomerase inhibitors based on quadruplex ligands selected by a fluorescence assay.
The reactivation of telomerase activity in most cancer cells supports the concept that telomerase is a relevant target in oncology, and telomerase inhibitors have been proposed as new potential anticancer agents. The telomeric G-rich single-stranded DNA can adopt in vitro an intramolecular quadruplex structure, which has been shown to inhibit telomerase activity. We used a fluorescence assay to identify molecules that stabilize G-quadruplexes. Intramolecular folding of an oligonucleotide with four repeats of the human telomeric sequence into a G-quadruplex structure led to fluorescence excitation energy transfer between a donor (fluorescein) and an acceptor (tetramethylrhodamine) covalently attached to the 5' and 3' ends of the oligonucleotide, respectively. The melting of the G-quadruplex was monitored in the presence of putative G-quadruplex-binding molecules by measuring the fluorescence emission of the donor. A series of compounds (pentacyclic crescent-shaped dibenzophenanthroline derivatives) was shown to increase the melting temperature of the G-quadruplex by 2-20 degrees C at 1 microM dye concentration. This increase in T(m) value was well correlated with an increase in the efficiency of telomerase inhibition in vitro. The best telomerase inhibitor showed an IC(50) value of 28 nM in a standard telomerase repeat amplification protocol assay. Fluorescence energy transfer can thus be used to reveal the formation of four-stranded DNA structures, and its stabilization by quadruplex-binding agents, in an effort to discover new potent telomerase inhibitors. (+info)