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Biophysical Chemistry





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Three-way helical junctions (3WJs) arise in genetic processing, and they have architectural and functional roles in structured nucleic acids. An internal bulge at the junction core allows the helical domains to become oriented into two possible, coaxially stacked conformers. Here, the helical stacking arrangements for a series of bulged, DNA 3WJs were examined using ensemble fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and single-molecule FRET (smFRET) approaches. The 3WJs varied according to the GC content and sequence of the junction core as well as the pyrimidine content of the internal bulge. Mg2+ titration experiments by ensemble FRET show that both stacking conformations have similar Mg2+ requirements for folding. Strikingly, smFRET experiments reveal that a specific junction sequence can populate both conformers and that this junction undergoes continual interconversion between the two stacked conformers. These findings will support the development of folding principles for the rational design of functional DNA nanostructures.


Author Posting © Elsevier, 2019. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Biophysical Chemistry, Volume 245, February 2019.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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