American Chemical Society
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Guanosine Distribution and Oxidation Resistance in Eight Eukaryotic Genomes

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journal contribution
posted on 2004-03-03, 00:00 authored by Keith A. Friedman, Adam Heller
Reactive oxygen species that attack DNA are continuously generated in living cells. Both the guanosine (G) mole fraction and its distribution should affect the stability of genomes and their parts to oxidation. At a lesser G content, genomes should be more oxidation resistant or “ennobled”. Oxidant scavenging by G's in nonessential parts of introns and intergenic domains should decrease G oxidation in the essential exons. To determine whether genomes are indeed ennobled and whether oxidant-scavenging domains exist in genomes, the relative rates of guanosine oxidation in average exons, introns, and intergenic domains were estimated. Comparison among genomes indicated that average exons are ennobled in the genomes of Caenorhabditis (worm), Arabidopsis (plant), Saccharomyces (yeast), Schizosaccharomyces (yeast), and Plasmodium (malaria parasite), and that average introns and intergenic domains are ennobled in these genomes and in the genome of Drosophila (fly). The exon oxidation rates estimated for these genomes were less than the rate for the hypothetical “standard” genome, with a 0.25 mole fraction of uniformly distributed G. For Plasmodium the rate was half of that estimated for the standard genome. Average exons were not ennobled in the human or fly genomes; their G distributions were comparable to that in the standard genome. Instead, their exons were situated between introns and intergenic domains that could protect them by oxidant scavenging, the G's of their introns and intergenic domains outnumbering those of their exons 50-fold in humans and 4-fold in flies. The G distribution in the Encephalitozoon (parasite) genome was not protective relative to that of the standard genome.