Sequence-specific B-DNA flexibility modulates Z-DNA formation.
Conversion of right-handed B-DNA into left-handed Z-DNA is one of the largest structural transitions in biology that plays fundamental roles in gene expression and regulation. Z-DNA segments must form within genomes surrounded by a sea of B-DNA and require creation of energetically costly B/Z junctions. Here, we show using a combination of natural abundance NMR R(1ρ) carbon relaxation measurements and CD spectroscopy that sequence-specific B-DNA flexibility modulates the thermodynamic propensity to form Z-DNA and the location of B/Z junctions. We observe sequence-specific flexibility in B-DNA spanning fast (ps-ns) and slow (μs-ms) time scales localized at the site of B/Z junction formation. Further, our studies show that CG-repeats play an active role tuning this intrinsic B-DNA flexibility. Taken together, our results suggest that sequence-specific B-DNA flexibility may provide a mechanism for defining the length and location of Z-DNA in genomes.
Bothe, JR; Lowenhaupt, K; Al-Hashimi, HM
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