G-rich nucleic acid oligomers can form G-quadruplexes built by G-tetrads stacked upon each other. Depending on the nucleotide sequence, G-quadruplexes fold mainly with two topologies: parallel, in which all G-tracts are oriented parallel to each other, or antiparallel, in which one or more G-tracts are oriented antiparallel to the other G-tracts. In the former topology, all glycosidic bond angles conform to anti conformations, while in the latter topology they adopt both syn and anti conformations. It is of interest to understand the molecular forces that govern G-quadruplex folding. Here, we approach this problem by examining the impact of LNA (locked nucleic acid) modifications on the folding topology of the dimeric model system of the human telomere sequence. In solution, this DNA G-quadruplex forms a mixture of G-quadruplexes with antiparallel and parallel topologies. Using CD and NMR spectroscopies, we show that LNA incorporations can modulate this equilibrium in a rational manner and we establish a relationship between incorporation of LNA nucleotides in syn and/or anti positions and the shift of the equilibrium to obtain exclusively the parallel G-quadruplex. The change in topology is driven by a combination of the C3'-endo puckering of LNA nucleotides and their preference for the anti glycosidic conformation. In addition, the parallel LNA-modified G-quadruplexes are thermally stabilised by about 11 °C relative to their DNA counterparts.
Pradhan, D., Hansen, L. H., Vester, B., & Petersen, M. (2011). Selection of G-quadruplex folding topology with LNA-modified human telomeric sequences in K+ solution. Chemistry: A European Journal, 17(8), 2405-13. https://doi.org/10.1002/chem.201001961