G-quadruplex formation in double strand DNA probed by NMM and CV fluorescence


G-quadruplexes (GQs) are alternative DNA sec- ondary structures that can form throughout the human genome and control the replication and tran- scription of important regulatory genes. Here, we established an ensemble fluorescence assay by employing two GQ-interacting compounds, N-methyl mesoporphyrin IX (NMM) and Crystal Violet (CV). This enables quantitative measurement of the GQ folding propensity and conformation specificity in both single strand (ss) and double strand (ds) DNA. Our GQ mapping indicates that the likelihood of GQ for- mation is substantially diminished in dsDNA, likely due to the competition from the Watson–Crick base pairing. Unlike GQ folding sequence in ssDNA which forms both parallel and antiparallel GQs, dsDNA displays only parallel folding. Additionally, we employed single molecule FRET to obtain a direct quantitation of stably formed-, weakly folded and unfolded GQ conformations. The findings of this study and the method developed here will enable identifying and classifying potential GQ-forming sequences in human genome.

In Nucleic Acids Research