The formation of G-quadruplex structures within the nuclease hypersensitive element (NHE) III 1 region of the c-myc promoter and the ability of these structures to repress c-myc transcription have been well established. However, just how these extremely stable DNA secondary structures are transformed to activate c-myc transcription is still unknown. NM23-H2/nucleoside diphosphate kinase B has been recognized as an activator of c-myc transcription via interactions with the NHE III 1 region of the c-myc gene promoter. Through the use of RNA interference, we confirmed the transcriptional regulatory role of NM23-H2. In addition, we find that further purification of NM23-H2 results in loss of the previously identified DNA strand cleavage activity, but retention of its DNA binding activity. NM23-H2 binds to both single-stranded guanine- and cytosine-rich strands of the c-myc NHE III 11 and, to a lesser extent, to a random single-stranded DNA template. However, it does not bind to or cleave the NHE III 1 in duplex form. Significantly, potassium ions and compounds that stabilize the G-quadruplex and i-motif structures have an inhibitory effect on NM23-H2 DNA-binding activity. Mutation of Arg 88 to Ala 88 (R88A) reduced both DNA and nucleotide binding but had minimal effect on the NM23-H2 crystal structure. On the basis of these data and molecular modeling studies, we have proposed a stepwise trapping-out of the NHE III 1 region in a single-stranded form, thus allowing single-stranded transcription factors to bind and activate c-myc transcription. Furthermore, this model provides a rationale for how the stabilization of the G-quadruplex or i-motif structures formed within the c-myc gene promoter region can inhibit NM23-H2 from activating c-myc gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research