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Guanine tetraplex formation by short DNA fragments containing runs of guanine and cytosine.

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  • Research Article


Using CD spectroscopy, guanine tetraplex formation was studied with short DNA fragments in which cytosine residues were systematically added to runs of guanine either at the 5' or 3' ends. Potassium cations induced the G-tetraplex more easily with fragments having the guanine run at the 5' end, which is just an opposite tendency to what was reported for (G+T) oligonucleotides. However, the present (G+C) fragments simultaneously adopted other conformers that complicated the analysis. We demonstrate that repeated freezing/thawing, performed at low ionic strength, is a suitable method to exclusively stabilize the tetraplex in the (G+C) DNA fragments. In contrast to KCl, the repeated freeze/thaw cycles better stabilized the tetraplex with fragments having the guanine run on the 3' end. The tendency of guanine blocks to generate the tetraplex destabilized the d(G5).d(C5) duplex whose strands dissociated, giving rise to a stable tetraplex of (dG5) and single-stranded (dC5). In contrast to d(G3C3) and d(G5C5), repeated freezing/thawing induced the tetraplex even with the self-complementary d(C3G3) or d(C5G5); hence the latter oligonucleotides preferred the tetraplex to the apparently very stable duplex. The tetraplexes only included guanine blocks while the 5' end cytosines interfered neither with the tetraplex formation nor the tetraplex structure.

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