Novel eGZ-motif formed by regularly extruded guanine bases in a left-handed Z-DNA helix as a major motif behind CGG trinucleotide repeats
Fakharzadeh, A., Zhang, J., Roland, C., & Sagui, C. (2022, May 10). NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH.
Abstract The expansion of d(CGG) trinucleotide repeats (TRs) lies behind several important neurodegenerative diseases. Atypical DNA secondary structures have been shown to trigger TR expansion: their characterization is important for a molecular understanding of TR disease. CD spectroscopy experiments in the last decade have unequivocally demonstrated that CGG runs adopt a left-handed Z-DNA conformation, whose features remain uncertain because it entails accommodating GG mismatches. In order to find this missing motif, we have carried out molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to explore all the possible Z-DNA helices that potentially form after the transition from B- to Z-DNA. Such helices combine either CpG or GpC Watson-Crick steps in Z-DNA form with GG-mismatch conformations set as either intrahelical or extrahelical; and participating in BZ or ZZ junctions or in alternately extruded conformations. Characterization of the stability and structural features (especially overall left-handedness, higher-temperature and steered MD simulations) identified two novel Z-DNA helices: the most stable one displays alternately extruded Gs, and is followed by a helix with symmetrically extruded ZZ junctions. The G-extrusion favors a seamless stacking of the Watson-Crick base pairs; extruded Gs favor syn conformations and display hydrogen-bonding and stacking interactions. Such conformations could have the potential to hijack the MMR complex, thus triggering further expansion.