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Random Formation of G-Quadruplexes in the Full-Length Human Telomere Overhangs Leads to a Kinetic Folding Pattern with Targetable Vacant G-Tracts

Abraham Punnoose, Jibin, Ma, Yue, Hoque, Mohammed Enamul, Cui, Yunxi, Sasaki, Shogo, Guo, Athena Huixin, Nagasawa, Kazuo, Mao, Hanbin
Biochemistry 2018 v.57 no.51 pp. 6946-6955
DNA fragmentation, complementary DNA, humans, nucleotides, telomeres, thermodynamics
G-Quadruplexes formed in the 3′ telomere overhang (∼200 nucleotides) have been shown to regulate biological functions of human telomeres. The mechanism governing the population pattern of multiple telomeric G-quadruplexes is yet to be elucidated inside the telomeric overhang in a time window shorter than thermodynamic equilibrium. Using a single-molecule force ramping assay, we quantified G-quadruplex populations in telomere overhangs over a full physiological range of 99–291 nucleotides. We found that G-quadruplexes randomly form in these overhangs within seconds, which leads to a population governed by a kinetic, rather than a thermodynamic, folding pattern. The kinetic folding gives rise to vacant G-tracts between G-quadruplexes. By targeting these vacant G-tracts using complementary DNA fragments, we demonstrated that binding to the telomeric G-quadruplexes becomes more efficient and specific for telomestatin derivatives.