Energetic basis of human telomeric DNA folding into G-quadruplex structures.
ABSTRACT Recent theoretical studies performed on the folding/unfolding mechanism of the model telomeric human DNA, 5'-AGGGTTAGGGTTAGGGTTAGGG-3' (Tel22), have indicated that in the presence of K(+) ions Tel22 folds into two hybrid G-quadruplex structures characterized by one double and two reversal TTA loops arranged in a different way. They predicted a new unfolding pathway from the initial mixture of hybrid G-quadruplexes via the corresponding intermediate triplex structures into the final, fully unfolded state. Significantly, no experimental evidence supporting the suggested pathway has been reported. In the current work, we performed a comprehensive global thermodynamic analysis of calorimetric (DSC, ITC) and spectroscopic (CD) data obtained on monitoring the folding/unfolding of Tel22 induced by changes of temperature and K(+) concentration. We show that unfolding of Tel22 may be described as a monomolecular equilibrium three-state process that involves thermodynamically distinguishable folded (F), intermediate (I), and unfolded (U) state. Considering that calorimetric methods cannot distinguish between energetically similar G-quadruplex or triplex conformations predicted by the theoretical model one can conclude that our results represent the first experimental support of the suggested unfolding/folding mechanism of Tel22. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that the estimated number of K(+) ions released upon each unfolding step in our thermodynamic model agrees well with the corresponding values predicted by the theoretical model and that the observed changes in enthalpy, entropy, and heat capacity accompanying the F → I and I → U transitions can be reasonably explained only if the intermediate state I is considered to be a triplex structural conformation.
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ABSTRACT: Background: The abasic sites represent one of the most frequent lesions of DNA and most of the events able to generate such modifications involve guanine bases. G-rich sequences are able to form quadruplex structures that have been proved to be involved in several important biological processes. Methods: In this paper, we report investigations, based on calorimetric, UV, CD and electrophoretic techniques, on 12 oligodeoxynucleotides analogues of the quadruplex forming human telomere sequence d[TA(G3T2A)3G3], in which each guanine has been replaced, one at a time, by an abasic site mimic. Results: Although all data show that the modified sequences preserve their ability to form quadruplex structures, the thermodynamic parameters clearly indicate that the presence of an abasic site decreases their thermal stability compared to the parent unmodified sequence, particularly if the replacement concerns one of the guanosines involved in the formation of the central G-tetrad. Conclusions: The collected data indicate that the effects of the presence of abasic site lesions in telomeric quadruplex structures are site-specific. The most dramatic consequences come out when this lesion involves a guanosine in the centre of a G-run. General significance: Abasic sites, by facilitating the G-quadruplex disruption, could favour the formation of the telomerase primer. Furthermore they could have implications in the pharmacological approach targeting telomere.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects 01/2012; 1820:2037. · 3.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are widely used to perturb the conformations of nucleic acids, including G-quadruplexes. The mechanism by which PEG alters G-quadruplex conformation is poorly understood. We describe here studies designed to determine how PEG and other co-solutes affect the conformation of the human telomeric quadruplex. Osmotic stress studies using acetonitrile and ethylene glycol show that conversion of the 'hybrid' conformation to an all-parallel 'propeller' conformation is accompanied by the release of about 17 water molecules per quadruplex and is energetically unfavorable in pure aqueous solutions. Sedimentation velocity experiments show that the propeller form is hydrodynamically larger than hybrid forms, ruling out a crowding mechanism for the conversion by PEG. PEGs do not alter water activity sufficiently to perturb quadruplex hydration by osmotic stress. PEG titration experiments are most consistent with a conformational selection mechanism in which PEG binds more strongly to the propeller conformation, and binding is coupled to the conformational transition between forms. Molecular dynamics simulations show that PEG binding to the propeller form is sterically feasible and energetically favorable. We conclude that PEG does not act by crowding and is a poor mimic of the intranuclear environment, keeping open the question of the physiologically relevant quadruplex conformation.Nucleic Acids Research 06/2013; · 8.28 Impact Factor