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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A phase diagram for sodium and potassium ion control of polymorphism in telomeric DNA.

Switching between antiparallel and parallel quadruplex structures of telomeric DNA under the control of intracellular Na+ and K+ has been implicated in the pairing of chromosomes during meiosis. Using Raman spectroscopy, we have determined the dependence of the interquadruplex equilibrium of the telomeric repeat of Oxytricha nova, upon solution concentrations of Na+ and K+. Both alkali cations facilitate the formation of an antiparallel foldback quadruplex at low concentration, and a parallel extended quadruplex at higher concentration. However, K+ is more effective than Na+ in inducing the parallel association. We propose a phase diagram relating d(T4G4)4 polymorphism to intracellular [Na+]/[K+] ratios. The phase diagram indicates that the interquadruplex equilibrium is highly sensitive to changes in the mole fraction of either cation when the total concentration falls within the interval 65 to 225 mM, a range which encompasses total of the Na+ and K+ concentrations occurring in a typical mammalian cell. These results support a role for the guanine-rich overhang of eukaryotic DNA in promoting chromosome association during meiotic synapsis.[1]


  1. A phase diagram for sodium and potassium ion control of polymorphism in telomeric DNA. Miura, T., Benevides, J.M., Thomas, G.J. J. Mol. Biol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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