Stability of the Na+ Form of the Human Telomeric G-Quadruplex: Role of Adenines in Stabilizing G-Quadruplex Structure

Academic Article


  • G-quadruplexes are higher order DNA structures that play significant roles in gene transcription and telomeric maintenance. The formation and stability of the G-quadruplex structures are under thermodynamic control and may be of biological significance for regulatory function of cellular processes. Here, we report the structural influence and energetic contributions of the adenine bases in the loop sequences that flank G-repeats in human telomeric DNA sequence. Spectroscopic and calorimetric techniques are used to measure the thermal stability and thermodynamic contributions to the stability of human telomeric G-quadruplexes that have been designed with systematic changes of A to T throughout the telomeric sequence. These studies demonstrate that the thermal stability of the G-quadruplex structure is directly related to the number and position of the adenines that are present in the telomeric sequence. The melting temperature (Tm) was reduced from 59 °C for the wild-type sequence to 47 °C for the sequence where all four adenines were replaced with thymines (0123TTT). Furthermore, the enthalpy required for transitioning from the folded to unfolded G-quadruplex structure was reduced by 15 kcal/mol when the adenines were replaced with thymines (37 kcal/mol for the wild-type telomeric sequence reduced to 22 kcal/mol for the sequence where all four adenines were replaced with thymines (0123TTT)). The circular dichroism melting studies for G-quadruplex sequences having a single A to T change showed significantly sloping pretransition baselines and their differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) thermograms revealed biphasic melting profiles. In contrast, the deoxyoligonucleotides having sequences with two or more A to T changes did not exhibit sloping baselines or biphasic DSC thermograms. We attribute the biphasic unfolding profile and reduction in the enthalpy of unfolding to the energetic contributions of adenine hydrogen bonding within the loops as well as the adenine stacking to the G-tetrads of the G-quadruplex structure.
  • Published In

  • ACS Omega  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tucker BA; Hudson JS; Ding L; Lewis E; Sheardy RD; Kharlampieva E; Graves D
  • Start Page

  • 844
  • End Page

  • 855
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 1