Single C8-arylguanine modifications render oligonucleotides in the Z-DNA conformation under physiological conditions

Brian C. Train, Suzan A. Bilgesü, Emily C. Despeaux, Vorasit Vongsutilers, Peter M. Gannett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Z-DNA is the only DNA conformation that has a left-handed helical twist. Although Z-DNA has been implicated in both carcinogenesis and mutagenesis, its specific biological role remains uncertain. We have demonstrated that the formation of C8-arylguanine DNA adducts, derived from arylhydrazines, shifts the B/Z-DNA equilibrium toward the Z-DNA conformation in d(CG)5 sequences. However, our previous work examined the effect of two adducts in the duplex, and it was unclear whether the two base modifications were working together to cause the equilibrium shift toward the Z-DNA conformation. Here we report the synthesis and characterization of a hairpin oligonucleotide sequence (d(CG)5T4(CG)5) containing only one C8-arylguanine modified base. The unmodified hairpin and the previously studied unmodified double-stranded oligonucleotide were conformationally similar, and each required ∼3 M NaCl to yield a B-/Z-DNA ratio of 1:1. The introduction of a single C8-arylguanine modification significantly reduced the NaCl concentration needed to produce a 1:1 B-/Z-DNA ratio in the hairpin. Further, the addition of MgCl2 and spermine to the C8-arylguanine-modified hairpin shifts the B/Z-DNA equilibrium such that the Z form predominated under physiological conditions. NMR and molecular modeling indicated the conformational effects produced by the C8-arylguanine modification occurred locally at the site of modification while CD data demonstrated that the C8-arylguanine-modified base destabilized the B form. Additionally, our data show that adopting the Z-DNA conformation is preferred over denaturation to the single-stranded form. Finally, the conformational effects of the C8-arylguanine modifications were not additive and the introduction of any such modifications drive Z-DNA formation under physiological conditions, which may provide a novel carcinogenesis mechanism where DNA adducts confer their carcinogenicity through a Z-DNA-mediated mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1186
Number of pages11
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 21 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


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