Thermal and pH stabilities of i-DNA: confronting in vitro experiments with models and in-cell NMR data.
Cheng M., Qiu D., Tamon L., Ištvánková E., Víšková P., Amrane S., Guédin A., Chen J., Lacroix L., Ju H., Trantírek L., Sahakyan AB., Zhou J., Mergny J-L.
Recent studies indicate that i-DNA, a four-stranded cytosine-rich DNA also known as the i-motif, is actually formed in vivo ; however, a systematic study on sequence effects on stability has been missing. Herein, an unprecedented number of different sequences (271) bearing four runs of 3-6 cytosines with different spacer lengths has been tested. While i-DNA stability is nearly independent on total spacer length, the central spacer plays a special role on stability. Stability also depends on the length of the C-tracts at both acidic and neutral pHs. This study provides a global picture on i-DNA stability thanks to the large size of the introduced data set; it reveals unexpected features and allows to conclude that determinants of i-DNA stability do not mirror those of G-quadruplexes. Our results illustrate the structural roles of loops and C-tracts on i-DNA stability, confirm its formation in cells, and allow establishing rules to predict its stability.