Energetic basis of human telomeric DNA folding into G-quadruplex structures.

Author: Bončina M, Lah J, Prislan I, Vesnaver G.
Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Conference/Journal: J Am Chem Soc.
Date published: 2012 Jun 13
Other: Volume ID: 134 , Issue ID: 23 , Pages: 9657-63 , Word Count: 255

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.
PMID: 22594380