Conformational polymorphysm of G-rich fragments of DNA Alu-repeats. I. Noncanonical structures
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We report results of the first systematic study of conformational polymorphism of G-rich DNA fragments of Alu-repeats. Alu retrotransposons are primate-specific short interspersed elements. Using the Alu sequence of the prooncogen bcl2 intron and the consensus AluSx sequence as representative examples, we have determined characteristic Alu sites that are capable of adopting G-quadruplex (GQ) conformations (i.e., potential quadruplex sites—PQSAlu), and demonstrated by bioinformatics methods that these sites are Alu-specific in the human genome. Genomic frequencies of PQSAlu were assessed (~1/10000 bp). These sites were found to be characteristic of young (active) Alu families (Alu-Y). A recombinant DNA sequence bearing the Alu element of the human bcl2 gene (304 bp) and its PQS-mutant (Alu-PQS) were constructed. The formation of noncanonical structures in Alubcl2 dsDNA and their absence in the case of Alu-PQS have been shown using DMS-footprinting and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Expression vectors bearing wild-type and mutant Alu insertions in the promoter regions of the reporter gene have been prepared, and their regulatory effects have been compared during transfection of НЕК293 and HeLa cells. We suggest that the dynamic study of the spatial organization of Alu repeats may provide insight into the mechanisms of genomic rearrangements responsible for the development of many oncological and neurodegenerative diseases.
KeywordsG-quadruplex DNA Alu-repeats dynamics of DNA secondary structures
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