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Structural and Dynamical Impact of a Universal Fluorescent Nucleoside Analogue Inserted Into a DNA Duplex

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journal contribution
posted on 27.11.2017, 00:00 by Loussiné Zargarian, Akli Ben Imeddourene, Krishna Gavvala, Nicolas P. F. Barthes, Benoit Y. Michel, Cyril A. Kenfack, Nelly Morellet, Brigitte René, Philippe Fossé, Alain Burger, Yves Mély, Olivier Mauffret
Recently, a 3-hydroxychromone based nucleoside 3HCnt has been developed as a highly environment-sensitive nucleoside surrogate to investigate protein–DNA interactions. When it is incorporated in DNA, the probe is up to 50-fold brighter than 2-aminopurine, the reference fluorescent nucleoside. Although the insertion of 3HCnt in DNA was previously shown to not alter the overall DNA structure, the possibility of the probe inducing local effects cannot be ruled out. Hence, a systematic structural and dynamic study is required to unveil the 3HCnt’s limitations and to properly interpret the data obtained with this universal probe. Here, we investigated by NMR a 12-mer duplex, in which a central adenine was replaced by 3HCnt. The chemical shifts variations and nOe contacts revealed that the 3HCnt is well inserted in the DNA double helix with extensive stacking interactions with the neighbor base pairs. These observations are in excellent agreement with the steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence properties indicating that the 3HCnt fluorophore is protected from the solvent and does not exhibit rotational motion. The 3HCnt insertion in DNA is accompanied by the extrusion of the opposite nucleobase from the double helix. Molecular dynamics simulations using NMR-restraints demonstrated that 3HCnt fluorophore exhibits only translational dynamics. Taken together, our data showed an excellent intercalation of 3HCnt in the DNA double helix, which is accompanied by localized perturbations. This confirms 3HCnt as a highly promising tool for nucleic acid labeling and sensing.