Molecular conformations and dynamics of nucleotide repeats associated with neurodegenerative diseases: double helices and CAG hairpin loops
[Review of ]. COMPUTATIONAL AND STRUCTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY JOURNAL, 19, 2819–2832.
Pathogenic DNA secondary structures have been identified as a common and causative factor for expansion in trinucleotide, hexanucleotide, and other simple sequence repeats. These expansions underlie about fifty neurological and neuromuscular disorders known as “anticipation diseases”. Cell toxicity and death have been linked to the pathogenic conformations and functional changes of the RNA transcripts, of DNA itself and, when trinucleotides are present in exons, of the translated proteins. We review some of our results for the conformations and dynamics of pathogenic structures for both RNA and DNA, which include mismatched homoduplexes formed by trinucleotide repeats CAG and GAC; CCG and CGG; CTG(CUG) and GTC(GUC); the dynamics of DNA CAG hairpins; mismatched homoduplexes formed by hexanucleotide repeats (GGGGCC) and (GGCCCC); and G-quadruplexes formed by (GGGGCC) and (GGGCCT). We also discuss the dynamics of strand slippage in DNA hairpins formed by CAG repeats as observed with single-molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer. This review focuses on the rich behavior exhibited by the mismatches associated with these simple sequence repeat noncanonical structures.