High-resolution AFM structure of DNA G-wires in aqueous solution
Lech, Christopher Jacques
Phan, Anh Tuân
Date of Issue2018
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
We investigate the self-assembly of short pieces of the Tetrahymena telomeric DNA sequence d[G4T2G4] in physiologically relevant aqueous solution using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Wire-like structures (G-wires) of 3.0 nm height with well-defined surface periodic features were observed. Analysis of high-resolution AFM images allowed their classification based on the periodicity of these features. A major species is identified with periodic features of 4.3 nm displaying left-handed ridges or zigzag features on the molecular surface. A minor species shows primarily left-handed periodic features of 2.2 nm. In addition to 4.3 and 2.2 nm ridges, background features with periodicity of 0.9 nm are also observed. Using molecular modeling and simulation, we identify a molecular structure that can explain both the periodicity and handedness of the major G-wire species. Our results demonstrate the potential structural diversity of G-wire formation and provide valuable insight into the structure of higher-order intermolecular G-quadruplexes. Our results also demonstrate how AFM can be combined with simulation to gain insight into biomolecular structure.
Atomic Force Microscopy
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