Loop Sequence Context Influences the Formation and Stability of the i-Motif for DNA Oligomers of Sequence (CCCXXX)4, where X = A and/or T, under Slightly Acidic Conditions.
The structure and stability of DNA is highly dependent upon the sequence context of the bases (A, G, C, and T) and the environment under which the DNA is prepared (e.g., buffer, temperature, pH, ionic strength). Understanding the factors that influence structure and stability of the i-motif conformation can lead to the design of DNA sequences with highly tunable properties. We have been investigating the influence of pH and temperature on the conformations and stabilities for all permutations of the DNA sequence (CCCXXX)4, where X = A and/or T, using spectroscopic approaches. All oligomers undergo transitions from single-stranded structures at pH 7.0 to i-motif conformations at pH 5.0 as evidenced by circular dichroism (CD) studies. These folded structures possess stacked C:CH(+) base pairs joined by loops of 5'-XXX-3'. Although the pH at the midpoint of the transition (pHmp) varies slightly with loop sequence, the linkage between pH and log K for the proton induced transition is highly loop sequence dependent. All oligomers also undergo the thermally induced i-motif to single-strand transition at pH 5.0 as the temperature is increased from 25 to 95 °C. The temperature at the midpoint of this transition (Tm) is also highly dependent on loop sequence context effects. For seven of eight possible permutations, the pH induced, and thermally induced transitions appear to be highly cooperative and two state. Analysis of the CD optical melting profiles via a van't Hoff approach reveals sequence-dependent thermodynamic parameters for the unfolding as well. Together, these data reveal that the i-motif conformation exhibits exquisite sensitivity to loop sequence context with respect to formation and stability.
McKim, M; Buxton, A; Johnson, C; Metz, A; Sheardy, RD
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