Metal ions confinement defines the architecture of G-quartet, G-quadruplex fibrils and their assembly into nematic tactoids.
ABSTRACT: G-quadruplex, assembled from a square array of guanine (G) molecules, is an important structure with crucial biological roles in vivo but also a versatile template for ordered functional materials. Although the understanding of G-quadruplex structures is the focus of numerous studies, little is known regarding the control of G-quartet stacking modes and the spontaneous orientation of G-quadruplex fibrils. Here, the effects of different metal ions and their concentrations on stacking modes of G-quartets are elucidated. Monovalent cations (typically K+) facilitate the formation of G-quadruplex hydrogels with both heteropolar and homopolar stacking modes, showing weak mechanical strength. In contrast, divalent metal ions (Ca2+, Sr2+, and Ba2+) at given concentrations can control G-quartet stacking modes and increase the mechanical rigidity of the resulting hydrogels through ionic bridge effects between divalent ions and borate. We show that for Ca2+ and Ba2+ at suitable concentrations, the assembly of G-quadruplexes results in the establishment of a mesoscopic chirality of the fibrils with a regular left-handed twist. Finally, we report the discovery of nematic tactoids self-assembled from G-quadruplex fibrils characterized by homeotropic fibril alignment with respect to the interface. We use the Frank-Oseen elastic energy and the Rapini-Papoular anisotropic surface energy to rationalize two different configurations of the tactoids. These results deepen our understanding of G-quadruplex structures and G-quadruplex fibrils, paving the way for their use in self-assembly and biomaterials.
Project description:Nuclear magnetic resonance study of G-quadruplex structures formed by d(TG(3)T) and its modified analogs containing a 5'-5' or 3'-3' inversion of polarity sites, namely d(3'TG5'-5'G(2)T3'), d(3'T5'-5'G(3)T3') and d(5'TG3'-3'G(2)T5') demonstrates formation of G-quadruplex structures with tetrameric topology and distinct cation-binding preferences. All oligonucleotides are able to form quadruplex structures with two binding sites, although the modified oligonucleotides also form, in variable amounts, quadruplex structures with only one bound cation. The inter-quartet cavities at the inversion of polarity sites bind ammonium ions less tightly than a naturally occurring 5'-3' backbone. Exchange of (15) ions between G-quadruplex and bulk solution is faster at the 3'-end in comparison to the 5'-end. In addition to strand directionality, cation movement is influenced by formation of an all-syn G-quartet. Formation of such quartet has been observed also for the parent d(TG(3)T) that besides the canonical quadruplex with only all-anti G-quartets, forms a tetramolecular parallel quadruplex containing one all-syn G-quartet, never observed before in unmodified quadruplex structures.
Project description:In the promoter of c-KIT proto-oncogene, whose deregulation has been implicated in many cancers, three G-rich regions (kit1, kit* and kit2) are able to fold into G-quadruplexes. While kit1 and kit2 have been studied in depth, little information is available on kit* folding behavior despite its key role in regulation of c-KIT transcription. Notably, kit* contains consensus sites for SP1 and AP2 transcription factors. Herein, a set of complementary spectroscopic and biophysical methods reveals that kit*, d[GGCGAGGAGGGGCGTGGCCGGC], adopts a chair type antiparallel G-quadruplex with two G-quartets at physiological relevant concentrations of KCl. Heterogeneous ensemble of structures is observed in the presence of Na+ and NH4+ ions, which however stabilize pre-folded structure. In the presence of K+ ions stacking interactions of adenine and thymine residues on the top G-quartet contribute to structural stability together with a G10•C18 base pair and a fold-back motif of the five residues at the 3'-terminal under the bottom G-quartet. The 3'-tail enables formation of a bimolecular pre-folded structure that drives folding of kit* into a single G-quadruplex. Intriguingly, kinetics of kit* G-quadruplex formation matches timescale of transcriptional processes and might demonstrate interplay of kinetic and thermodynamic factors for understanding regulation of c-KIT proto-oncogene expression.
Project description:Conformational changes in DNA G-quadruplex (GQ)-forming regions affect genome function and, thus, compose an interesting research topic. Computer modelling may yield insight into quadruplex folding and rearrangement, particularly molecular dynamics simulations. Here, we show that specific parameters, which are distinct from those commonly used in DNA conformational analyses, must be introduced for adequate interpretation and, most importantly, convenient visual representation of the quadruplex modelling results. We report a set of parameters that comprehensively and systematically describe GQ geometry in dynamics. The parameters include those related to quartet planarity, quadruplex twist, and quartet stacking; they are used to quantitatively characterise various types of quadruplexes and rearrangements, such as quartet distortion/disruption or deviation/bulging of a single nucleotide from the quartet plane. Our approach to describing conformational changes in quadruplexes using the new parameters is exemplified by telomeric quadruplex rearrangement, and the benefits of applying this approach to analyse other structures are discussed.
Project description:G-quadruplexes adopt various folding topologies, but information on their folding pathways remains scarce. Here, we used electrospray mass spectrometry to detect and quantify the specifically bound potassium ions, and circular dichroism to characterize the stacking topology of each ensemble. For human telomeric (hTel) sequences containing the d((GGGTTA)3GGG) core, K+ binding affinity and cooperativity strongly depends on the chosen construct. The shortest sequences bind only one K+ at low KCl concentration, and this 2-quartet G-quadruplex is antiparallel. Flanking bases increase the K+ binding cooperativity. To decipher the folding pathways, we investigated the kinetics of K+ binding to telomeric (hybrid) and c-myc (parallel) G-quadruplexes. G-quadruplexes fold via branched pathways with multiple parallel reactions. Up to six states (one ensemble without K+, two ensembles with 1-K+ and three ensembles with 2-K+) are separated based on their formation rates and ion mobility spectrometry. All G-quadruplexes first form long-lived misfolded structures (off-pathway compared to the most stable structures) containing one K+ and two quartets in an antiparallel stacking arrangement. The results highlight the particular ruggedness of G-quadruplex nucleic acid folding landscapes. Misfolded structures can play important roles for designing artificial G-quadruplex based structures, and for conformational selection by ligands or proteins in a biological context.
Project description:GCn and GCnCG, where n = (G2AG4AG2), fold into well-defined, dimeric G-quadruplexes with unprecedented folding topologies in the presence of Na+ ions as revealed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Both G-quadruplexes exhibit unique combination of structural elements among which are two G-quartets, A(GGGG)A hexad and GCGC-quartet. Detailed structural characterization uncovered the crucial role of 5'-GC ends in formation of GCn and GCnCG G-quadruplexes. Folding in the presence of 15NH4+ and K+ ions leads to 3'-3' stacking of terminal G-quartets of GCn G-quadruplexes, while 3'-GC overhangs in GCnCG prevent dimerization. Results of the present study expand repertoire of possible G-quadruplex structures. This knowledge will be useful in DNA sequence design for nanotechnological applications that may require specific folding topology and multimerization properties.
Project description:Distamycin binds the minor groove of duplex DNA at AT-rich regions and has been a valuable probe of protein interactions with double-stranded DNA. We find that distamycin can also inhibit protein interactions with G-quadruplex (G4) DNA, a stable four-stranded structure in which the repeating unit is a G-quartet. Using NMR, we show that distamycin binds specifically to G4 DNA, stacking on the terminal G-quartets and contacting the flanking bases. These results demonstrate the utility of distamycin as a probe of G4 DNA-protein interactions and show that there are (at least) two distinct modes of protein-G4 DNA recognition which can be distinguished by sensitivity to distamycin.
Project description:Single-stranded guanosine-rich oligodeoxyribonucleotides (GROs) have a propensity to form quadruplex structures that are stabilized by G-quartets. In addition to intense speculation about the role of G-quartet formation in vivo, there is considerable interest in the therapeutic potential of quadruplex oligonucleotides as aptamers or non-antisense antiproliferative agents. We previously have described several GROs that inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines. The activity of these GROs was related to their ability to bind to a specific cellular protein (GRO-binding protein, which has been tentatively identified as nucleolin). In this report, we describe the physical properties and biological activity of a group of 12 quadruplex oligonucleotides whose structures have been characterized previously. This group includes the thrombin-binding aptamer, an anti-HIV oligonucleotide, and several quadruplexes derived from telomere sequences. Thermal denaturation and circular dichroism (CD) spectropolarimetry were utilized to investigate the stability, reversibility and ion dependence of G-quartet formation. The ability of each oligonucleotide to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and to compete for binding to the GRO-binding protein was also examined. Our results confirm that G-quartet formation is essential for biological activity of GROs and show that, in some cases, quadruplex structures formed in the presence of potassium ions are significantly more active than those formed in the presence of sodium ions. However, not all quadruplex structures exhibit antiproliferative effects, and the most accurate factor in predicting biological activity was the ability to bind to the GRO-binding protein. Our data also indicate that the CD spectra of quadruplex oligonucleotides may be more complex than previously thought.
Project description:Loops which are linkers connecting G-strands and supporting the G-tetrad core in G-quadruplex are important for biological roles of G-quadruplexes. TTA loop is a common sequence which mainly resides in human telomeric DNA (hTel) G-quadruplex. A series of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were carried out to investigate the structural dynamics of TTA loops. We found that (1) the TA base pair formed in TTA loops are very stable, the occupied of all hydrogen bonds are more than 0.95. (2) The TA base pair makes the adjacent G-quartet more stable than others. (3) For the edgewise loop and the diagonal loop, most loop bases are stacking with others, only few bases have considerable freedom. (4) The stabilities of these stacking structures are distinct. Part of the loops, especially TA base pairs, and bases stacking with the G-quartet, maintain certain stable conformations in the simulation, but other parts, like TT and TA stacking structures, are not stable enough. For the first time, spontaneous conformational switches of TTA edgewise loops were observed in our long time MD simulations. (5) For double chain reversal loop, it is really hard to maintain a stable conformation in the long time simulation under present force fields (parm99 and parmbsc0), as it has multiple conformations with similar free energies.
Project description:Nucleic acid mimics of fluorescent proteins can be valuable tools to locate and image functional biomolecules in cells. Stacking between the internal G-quartet, formed in the mimics, and the exogenous fluorophore probes constitutes the basis for fluorescence emission. The precision of recognition depends upon probes selectively targeting the specific G-quadruplex in the mimics. However, the design of probes recognizing a G-quadruplex with high selectivity in vitro and in vivo remains a challenge. Through structure-based screening and optimization, we identified a light-up fluorescent probe, 9CI that selectively recognizes c-MYC Pu22 G-quadruplex both in vitro and ex vivo. Upon binding, the biocompatible probe emits both blue and green fluorescence with the excitation at 405 nm. With 9CI and c-MYC Pu22 G-quadruplex complex as the fluorescent response core, a DNA mimic of fluorescent proteins was constructed, which succeeded in locating a functional aptamer on the cellular periphery. The recognition mechanism analysis suggested the high selectivity and strong fluorescence response was attributed to the entire recognition process consisting of the kinetic match, dynamic interaction, and the final stacking. This study implies both the single stacking state and the dynamic recognition process are crucial for designing fluorescent probes or ligands with high selectivity for a specific G-quadruplex structure.
Project description:Aquaporins (AQPs) are known to facilitate water and solute fluxes across barrier membranes. An increasing number of AQPs are being found to serve as ion channels. Ion and water permeability of selected plant and animal AQPs (plant Arabidopsis thaliana AtPIP2;1, AtPIP2;2, AtPIP2;7, human Homo sapiens HsAQP1, rat Rattus norvegicus RnAQP4, RnAQP5, and fly Drosophilamelanogaster DmBIB) were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and examined in chelator-buffered salines to evaluate the effects of divalent cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Ba2+ and Cd2+) on ionic conductances. AtPIP2;1, AtPIP2;2, HsAQP1 and DmBIB expressing oocytes had ionic conductances, and showed differential sensitivity to block by external Ca2+. The order of potency of inhibition by Ca2+ was AtPIP2;2 > AtPIP2;1 > DmBIB > HsAQP1. Blockage of the AQP cation channels by Ba2+ and Cd2+ caused voltage-sensitive outward rectification. The channels with the highest sensitivity to Ca2+ (AtPIP2;1 and AtPIP2;2) showed a distinctive relief of the Ca2+ block by co-application of excess Ba2+, suggesting that divalent ions act at the same site. Recognizing the regulatory role of divalent cations may enable the discovery of other classes of AQP ion channels, and facilitate the development of tools for modulating AQP ion channels. Modulators of AQPs have potential value for diverse applications including improving salinity tolerance in plants, controlling vector-borne diseases, and intervening in serious clinical conditions involving AQPs, such as cancer metastasis, cardiovascular or renal dysfunction.