The Mapping of Predicted Triplex DNA:RNA in the Drosophila Genome Reveals a Prominent Location in Development- and Morphogenesis-Related Genes.
ABSTRACT: Double-stranded DNA is able to form triple-helical structures by accommodating a third nucleotide strand. A nucleic acid triplex occurs according to Hoogsteen rules that predict the stability and affinity of the third strand bound to the Watson-Crick duplex. The "triplex-forming oligonucleotide" (TFO) can be a short sequence of RNA that binds to the major groove of the targeted duplex only when this duplex presents a sequence of purine or pyrimidine bases in one of the DNA strands. Many nuclear proteins are known to bind triplex DNA or DNA:RNA, but their biological functions are unexplored. We identified sequences that are capable of engaging as the "triplex-forming oligonucleotide" in both the pre-lncRNA and pre-mRNA collections of Drosophila melanogaster These motifs were matched against the Drosophila genome in order to identify putative sequences of triplex formation in intergenic regions, promoters, and introns/exons. Most of the identified TFOs appear to be located in the intronic region of the analyzed genes. Computational prediction of the most targeted genes by TFOs originating from pre-lncRNAs and pre-mRNAs revealed that they are restrictively associated with development- and morphogenesis-related gene networks. The refined analysis by Gene Ontology enrichment demonstrates that some individual TFOs present genome-wide scale matches that are located in numerous genes and regulatory sequences. The triplex DNA:RNA computational mapping at the genome-wide scale suggests broad interference in the regulatory process of the gene networks orchestrated by TFO RNAs acting in association simultaneously at multiple sites.
Project description:The anti-gene strategy is based on sequence-specific recognition of double-strand DNA by triplex forming (TFOs) or DNA strand invading oligonucleotides to modulate gene expression. To be efficient, the oligonucleotides (ONs) should target DNA selectively, with high affinity. Here we combined hybridization analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assay with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to better understand the underlying structural features of modified ONs in stabilizing duplex- and triplex structures. Particularly, we investigated the role played by the position and number of locked nucleic acid (LNA) substitutions in the ON when targeting a c-MYC or FXN (Frataxin) sequence. We found that LNA-containing single strand TFOs are conformationally pre-organized for major groove binding. Reduced content of LNA at consecutive positions at the 3'-end of a TFO destabilizes the triplex structure, whereas the presence of Twisted Intercalating Nucleic Acid (TINA) at the 3'-end of the TFO increases the rate and extent of triplex formation. A triplex-specific intercalating benzoquinoquinoxaline (BQQ) compound highly stabilizes LNA-containing triplex structures. Moreover, LNA-substitution in the duplex pyrimidine strand alters the double helix structure, affecting x-displacement, slide and twist favoring triplex formation through enhanced TFO major groove accommodation. Collectively, these findings should facilitate the design of potent anti-gene ONs.
Project description:The DNA triple helix consists of a third strand of nucleic acid lying in the major groove of an intact DNA duplex. The most stable triplexes form on polypurine:polypyrimidine sequences, and pyrimidine interruptions in the purine strand are destabilizing. Sequence stringency is imparted by specific Hoogsteen hydrogen bonds between third strand bases and the purine bases in the duplex. Appropriate base and sugar modifications of triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) confer chromosome targeting activity in living cells. However, broad utilization of TFOs as gene targeting reagents in mammalian cells has been limited by the requirement for homopurine target sequences. Although there have been a number of base analogues described that appear to be promising as candidates for triplex target expansion, none has been examined in a biological system. We have employed a postsynthetic strategy to prepare a collection of TFOs with base analogues at a defined position. Following assessment of affinity for a triplex target with a single C:G inversion, TFOs with a second generation of analogues were synthesized. One of these, TFO-5a, with 2'-OMe-guanidinylethyl-5-methylcytosine at the position corresponding to the C:G interruption in the target sequence, was further modified to confer bioactivity. The activity of this TFO, linked to psoralen, was measured in a mammalian cell line that was engineered by directed sequence conversion to carry a triplex target with a single C:G interruption. TFO-5a was active against this target and inactive against the corresponding target with an uninterrupted polypurine:polypyrimidine sequence.
Project description:Triplex is emerging as an important RNA tertiary structure motif, in which consecutive non-canonical base pairs form between a duplex and a third strand. RNA duplex region is also often functionally important site for protein binding. Thus, triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) may be developed to regulate various biological functions involving RNA, such as viral ribosomal frameshifting and reverse transcription. How chemical modification in TFOs affects RNA triplex stability, however, is not well understood. Here, we incorporated locked nucleic acid, 2-thio U- and 2'-O methyl-modified residues in a series of all pyrimidine RNA TFOs, and we studied the binding to two RNA hairpin structures. The 12-base-triple major-groove pyrimidine-purine-pyrimidine triplex structures form between the duplex regions of RNA/DNA hairpins and the complementary RNA TFOs. Ultraviolet-absorbance-detected thermal melting studies reveal that the locked nucleic acid and 2-thio U modifications in TFOs strongly enhance triplex formation with both parental RNA and DNA duplex regions. In addition, we found that incorporation of 2'-O methyl-modified residues in a TFO destabilizes and stabilizes triplex formation with RNA and DNA duplex regions, respectively. The (de)stabilization of RNA triplex formation may be facilitated through modulation of van der Waals contact, base stacking, hydrogen bonding, backbone pre-organization, geometric compatibility and/or dehydration energy. Better understanding of the molecular determinants of RNA triplex structure stability lays the foundation for designing and discovering novel sequence-specific duplex-binding ligands as diagnostic and therapeutic agents targeting RNA.
Project description:Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) can bind to polypurine x polypyrimidine tracts in DNA and, as a consequence, perturb the normal functioning of a targeted gene. The effectiveness of such antigene TFOs can potentially be enhanced by covalent attachment of the TFO to its DNA target. Here, we report that attachment of N-7-platinated guanine nucleosides to the 3'- and/or 5'-ends of oligopyrimidine TFOs enables these TFOs to form highly stable adducts with target DNA deoxyguanosines or deoxyadenosines that are adjacent to the TFO binding site. Such adduct formation stably anchors the TFO to its target. Depending on the sequences adjacent to the TFO binding site, adduct formation can occur on either strand of the DNA. Adduct formation by 3',5'-bis-platinated TFOs can result in the formation of an interstrand cross-link between both strands of the DNA duplex. Formation of the adducts, which could be reversed by treatment with sodium cyanide, was dependent upon the ability of the TFO to bind to DNA and appeared to occur at a rate slower than that at which the TFO bound to the DNA duplex. The extent of adduct formation at 37 degrees C by platinated deoxyribo-TFOs diminished as the pH was increased from 6.5 to 7.4. In contrast, high levels (approximately 86%) of adduct formation by platinated 2'-O-methylribo-TFOs were observed at both pH 6.5 and pH 7.4. Platinated 2'-O-methylribo-TFOs were also shown to bind to plasmid DNA and inhibit transcription in vitro, and to inhibit plasmid replication in E. coli cells. These results suggest that platinum-conjugated TFOs may be good candidates for use as antigene agents.
Project description:Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) can bind specifically to polypurine sequences in double-stranded DNA. A single interruption of this polypurine tract can greatly destabilize triplex formation. The stability of triplexes can be significantly enhanced by covalently linking the TFO to its DNA target with reactive functional groups conjugated to the TFO. Covalently cross-linked TFOs are effective inhibitors of transcription of the target DNA sequence. We have designed a TFO with a platinum-modified base that can interact with and cross-link to a cytosine interruption in the polypurine tract of a target DNA duplex. The TFO contains an N(4)-(aminoalkyl)cytosine derivatized with cis-diamminediaquaplatinum(II) or trans-diamminediaquaplatinum(II). When bound to its target, the tethered platinum of the TFO can reach across the major groove and form an adduct with the guanine N7 of the interrupting C.G base pair. The optimal tether length is five methylene groups, and cross-linking is most efficient when the tether is modified with trans-diamminediaquaplatinum(II). Cross-linking requires that the TFO is bound to its designated DNA target. Addition of cyanide to the cross-linked TFO product reversed the cross-link, behavior that is consistent with the presence of a platinum-guanine adduct. The kinetics of the cross-linking reaction were studied and the half-life of the cross-linking reaction was approximately 3 h. Our results demonstrate that platinum-conjugated TFOs can be designed to cross-link with DNA targets that contain a single pyrimidine interruption. Modifications of this type may prove useful for expanding the DNA sequences that can be targeted by TFOs and increasing the stability of the resulting triplexes.
Project description:Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) are powerful tools to interfere sequence-specifically with DNA-associated biological functions. (A/T,G)-containing TFOs are more commonly used in cells than (T,C)-containing TFOs, especially C-rich sequences; indeed the low intracellular stability of the non-covalent pyrimidine triplexes make the latter less active. In this work we studied the possibility to enhance DNA binding of (T,C)-containing TFOs, aiming to reach cellular activities; to this end, we used locked nucleic acid-modified TFOs (TFO/LNAs) in association with 5'-conjugation of an intercalating agent, an acridine derivative. In vitro a stable triplex was formed with the TFO-acridine conjugate: by SPR measurements at 37 degrees C and neutral pH, the dissociation equilibrium constant was found in the nanomolar range and the triplex half-life approximately 10 h (50-fold longer compared with the unconjugated TFO/LNA). Moreover to further understand DNA binding of (T,C)-containing TFO/LNAs, hybridization studies were performed at different pH values: triplex stabilization associated with pH decrease was mainly due to a slower dissociation process. Finally, biological activity of pyrimidine TFO/LNAs was evaluated in a cellular context: it occurred at concentrations approximately 0.1 microM for acridine-conjugated TFO/LNA (or approximately 2 microM for the unconjugated TFO/LNA) whereas the corresponding phosphodiester TFO was inactive, and it was demonstrated to be triplex-mediated.
Project description:We describe sequence-specific alkylation in the minor groove of double-stranded DNA by a hybridization-triggered reactive group conjugated to a triplex forming oligodeoxyribonucleotide (TFO) that binds in the major groove. The 24 nt TFOs (G/A motif) were designed to form triplexes with a homopurine tract within a 65 bp target duplex. They were conjugated to an N 5-methyl-cyclopropapyrroloindole (MCPI) residue, a structural analog of cyclopropapyrroloindole (CPI), the reactive subunit of the potent antibiotic CC-1065. These moieties react in the DNA minor groove, alkylating adenines at their N3 position. In order to optimize alkylation efficiency, linkers between the TFO and the MCPI were varied both in length and composition. Quantitative alkylation of target DNA was achieved when the dihydropyrroloindole (DPI) subunit of CC-1065 was incorporated between an octa(propylene phosphate) linker and MCPI. The required long linker traversed one strand of the target duplex from the major groove-bound TFO to deliver the reactive group to the minor groove. Alkylation was directed by relative positioning of the TFOs. Sites in the minor groove within 4-8 nt from the end of the TFO bearing the reactive group were selectively alkylated.
Project description:The instability of DNA triplexes particularly at neutral pH and above severely limits their applications. Here, we demonstrate that the introduction of a thiazole orange (TO) intercalator onto a thymine nucleobase in triplex forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) resolves this problem. The stabilising effects are additive; multiple TO units produce nanomolar duplex binding and triplex stability can surpass that of the underlying duplex. In one example, a TFO containing three TO units increased the triplex melting temperature at pH 7 by a remarkable 50 °C relative to the unmodified triplex. Notably, TO intercalation promotes TFO binding to target sequences other than pure polypurine tracts by the use of 5-(1-propynyl)cytosine (pC) against C:G inversions. By overcoming the instability of triplexes across a broad range of pH and sequence contexts, these very simple 'TOTFO' probes could expand triplex applications into many areas including diagnostics and cell imaging.
Project description:Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) are efficient tools to regulate gene expression through the inhibition of transcription. Here, nucleobase-caging technology was applied to the temporal regulation of transcription through light-activated TFOs. Through site-specific incorporation of caged thymidine nucleotides, the TFO:DNA triplex formation is blocked, rendering the TFO inactive. However, after a brief UV irradiation, the caging groups are removed, activating the TFO and leading to the inhibition of transcription. Furthermore, the synthesis and site-specific incorporation of caged deoxycytidine nucleotides within TFO inhibitor sequences was developed, allowing for the light-deactivation of TFO function and thus photochemical activation of gene expression. After UV-induced removal of the caging groups, the TFO forms a DNA dumbbell structure, rendering it inactive, releasing it from the DNA, and activating transcription. These are the first examples of light-regulated TFOs and their application in the photochemical activation and deactivation of gene expression. In addition, hairpin loop structures were found to significantly increase the efficacy of phosphodiester DNA-based TFOs in tissue culture.
Project description:Triplexes are noncanonical DNA structures, which are functionally associated with regulation of gene expression through ncRNA targeting to chromatin. Based on the rules of Hoogsteen base-pairing, polypurine sequences of a duplex can potentially form triplex structures with single-stranded oligonucleotides. Prediction of triplex-forming sequences by bioinformatics analyses have revealed enrichment of potential triplex targeting sites (TTS) at regulatory elements, mainly in promoters and enhancers, suggesting a potential function of RNA-DNA triplexes in transcriptional regulation. Here, we have quantitatively evaluated the potential of different sequences of human and mouse ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) to form triplexes at different salt and pH conditions. We show by biochemical and biophysical approaches that some of these predicted sequences form triplexes with high affinity, following the canonical rules for triplex formation. We further show that RNA triplex-forming oligos (TFOs) are more stable than their DNA counterpart, and point mutations strongly affect triplex formation. We further show differential sequence requirements of pyrimidine and purine TFO sequences for efficient binding, depending on the G-C content of the TTS. The unexpected sequence specificity, revealing distinct sequence requirements for purine and pyrimidine TFOs, shows that in addition to the Hoogsteen pairing rules, a sequence code and mutations have to be taken into account to predict genomic TTS.