(CGA)(4): parallel, anti-parallel, right-handed and left-handed homoduplexes of a trinucleotide repeat DNA
Conformational properties of microsatellite DNA regions are the probable reason of their expansions in genomes which lead to serious genetic diseases in some cases. Using CD spectroscopy, W absorption spectroscopy and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, we study in this paper conformational properties of (CGA)(4) and compare them with those of (CAG)(4) - a related repeat. connected with Huntington's disease. We show that (CGA)(4) can adopt several distinct conformations in solution. Around neutral pH it forms a parallel-stranded homoduplex containing C+.C, G.G, and A.A base pairs. Under the same conditions (CAG)(4) forms a hairpin. At slightly alkaline pH values and low ionic strength, (CGA)(4) also folded into a hairpin which transformed into a bimolecular anti-parallel homoduplex at increasing salt concentrations. The duplex easily isomerized into left-handed Z-DNA, implying that the mismatched adenines between G.C pairs facilitate rather than hinder the B-Z transition. No similar changes took place with (CAG)(4). Thus, the conformational repertoire of (CAG)(4) includes parallel. anti-parallel, right-handed, and left-handed homoduplexes. In contrast, (CAG)(4) invariably adopts only a single conformation. namely the very stable hairpin. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.