Molecular population dynamics of DNA structures in a bcl-2 promoter sequence is regulated by small molecules and the transcription factor hnRNP LL

Yunxi Cui, Deepak Koirala, Hyun Jin Kang, Soma Dhakal, Philip Yangyuoru, Laurence H. Hurley, Hanbin Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Minute difference in free energy change of unfolding among structures in an oligonucleotide sequence can lead to a complex population equilibrium, which is rather challenging for ensemble techniques to decipher. Herein, we introduce a new method, molecular population dynamics (MPD), to describe the intricate equilibrium among non-B deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) structures. Using mechanical unfolding in laser tweezers, we identified six DNA species in a cytosine (C)-rich bcl-2 promoter sequence. Population patterns of these species with and without a small molecule (IMC-76 or IMC-48) or the transcription factor hnRNP LL are compared to reveal the MPD of different species. With a pattern recognition algorithm, we found that IMC-48 and hnRNP LL share 80% similarity in stabilizing i-motifs with 60 s incubation. In contrast, IMC-76 demonstrates an opposite behavior, preferring flexible DNA hairpins. With 120-180 s incubation, IMC-48 and hnRNP LL destabilize i-motifs, which has been previously proposed to activate bcl-2 transcriptions. These results provide strong support, from the population equilibrium perspective, that small molecules and hnRNP LL can modulate bcl-2 transcription through interaction with i-motifs. The excellent agreement with biochemical results firmly validates the MPD analyses, which, we expect, can be widely applicable to investigate complex equilibrium of biomacromolecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5755-5764
Number of pages10
JournalNucleic acids research
Volume42
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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