We report here the direct evidence for the formation of alternative DNA structures in a plasmid DNA, termed pTIR10, containing a 0.23-kb pyrimidine/purine-biased (Pyr/Pur) stretch isolated from the rat genome. Long Pyr/Pur sequences are abundant in eukaryotic genomes, and they may modulate the biological activity of genes and genomes via formation of various types of triplex-related structures. The plasmid DNA in sodium acetate buffer (pH 4.35) was deposited on APS-modified mica, and after drying it was imaged with an atomic force microscope in air. Various types of thick protrusions have been observed on pTIR10 DNA. Structural parameters (width and height) of DNA molecules suggest that the alternative structures observed here are variations on the theme of an intramolecular triplex. The biological relevance of the structural features within Pyr/Pur stretches is discussed.
- Alternative DNA structure
- Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
- Intramolecular triplex DNA
- Polypyrimidine/polypurine sequence
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