NMR studies of alkali metal ion binding in G-quadruplex DNA and model systems

DNA oligomers containing repeats of guanine (G) can fold into four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes. In the human genome, there are several G-rich regions where a G-quadruplex structure may potentially form. Among them, the telomere found at the termini of eukaryotic chromosomes is of particular importance. During normal cell division, telomeric DNA sequences shorten incrementally and such a cumulative loss eventually becomes lethal to somatic cells. An enzyme known as telomerase is capable of rebuilding the ends of telomeres. More importantly, this enzyme is found active in 85-90% of proliferating tumour cells but inactive in somatic cells. In the past decade, a tremendous amount of efforts have been devoted by scientists to the understanding of the relationship between cell immortalization in tumour cells and the maintenance of telomere length.2 Because the G-quadruplex structure may be a key feature of telomeres in vivo, it is of fundamental importance to understand all aspects of G-quadruplex formation and its binding to proteins.

It is known that the presence of alkali metal ions such as K+ and Na+ is critical in the formation, stability and function of G-quadruplex DNA structures. Structural details regarding the mode of ion binding in G-quadruplex DNA have come primarily from X-ray crystallographic studies. Recently, we have made a breakthrough in this area. In particular, we have successfully identified the 23Na, 39K, 87Rb and 43Ca NMR spectral signatures for Na+, K+, Rb+ and Ca2+ ions bound to the G-quadruplex structure. We have applied this new solid-state NMR method to determine the number and coordination of Na+ ions in a telomeric DNA sequence from Oxytricha nova, d(G4T4G4). This work represents the first time that a technique other than crystallography has yielded site-specific information about Na+ ion coordination in G-quadruplex DNA. Currently, we are extending our novel NMR methodologies to study telomeric DNAs and their protein complexes.

Our publications in this area

  1. R. Ida and G. Wu, Journal of the American Chemical Society 130, 3590-3602 (2008).
  2. I. C. M. Kwan, A. Wong, Y.-M. She, M. E. Smith, and G. Wu, Chemical Communications 682-684 (2008). (Featured on the front cover)
  3. R. Ida, I. C. M. Kwan, and G. Wu, Chemical Communications 795-797 (2007).
  4. A. Wong, R. Ida and G. Wu, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 337, 363-366 (2005).
  5. R. Ida and G. Wu, Chemical Communications 4294-4296 (2005).
  6. A. Wong, R. Ida, L. Spindler, and G. Wu, Journal of the American Chemical Society 127, 6990-6998 (2005).
  7. G. Wu and A. Wong, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 323, 1139-1144 (2004).
  8. A. Wong and G. Wu, Journal of the American Chemical Society 125, 13895-13905 (2003).
  9. G. Wu, A. Wong, Z. Gan, and J. T. Davis, Journal of the American Chemical Society 125, 7182-7183 (2003).
  10. A. Wong, J. Fettinger, S. L. Forman, J. T. Davis, and G. Wu, Journal of the American Chemical Society 124, 742-743 (2002).
  11. G. Wu and A. Wong, Chemical Communications 2658-2659 (2001).

Solid-state 17O NMR for organic and biological compounds

Oxygen is one of the most important elements in organic and biological molecules. Solid-state 17O (spin-5/2) NMR has, however, remained largely unexplored due to experimental difficulties in detecting NMR signals for quadrupolar nuclei. Given the fact that numerous NMR studies have been carried out for 1H, 13C and 15N,17O can be considered as the last frontier of biomolecular NMR spectroscopy. In the past several years, we have developed a comprehensive research program on solid-state 17O NMR studies of organic and biological compounds. We have first synthesized a series of 17O-labeled compounds containing various functional groups, and then characterized their solid-state 17O NMR properties. Most of the functional groups that we examined had no solid-state 17O NMR data available before our studies. We have also applied for the first time 17O multiple-quantum magic-angle spinning (MQMAS) technique to organic compounds and obtained high-resolution 17O NMR spectra where different oxygen sites can be resolved. The most intriguing aspect of 17O NMR is the remarkable sensitivity of 17O NMR parameters (both chemical shift and quadrupole coupling tensors) to hydrogen bonding interaction. We are currently expanding our effort in the development and application of solid-state 17O NMR with an emphasis on biological molecules.

Our publications in this area

  1. I. C. M. Kwan, X. Mo, and G. Wu, Journal of the American Chemical Society 129, 2397-2409 (2007).
  2. R. Ida, M. De Clerk, and G. Wu, Journal of Physical Chemistry Part A 110, 1065-1071 (2006).
  3. G. Wu and K. Yamada, Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 24, 196-208 (2003).
  4. G. Wu, S. Dong, R. Ida, and N. Reen, Journal of the American Chemical Society 124, 1768-1777 (2002).
  5. G. Wu and S. Dong, Journal of the American Chemical Society 123, 9119-9125 (2001).
  6. G. Wu, S. Dong, and R. Ida, Chemical Communications 891-892 (2001).
  7. S. Dong, R. Ida, and G. Wu, Journal of Physical Chemistry Part A 104, 11194-11202 (2000).
  8. K. Yamada, S. Dong, and G. Wu. Journal of the American Chemical Society 122, 11602-11609 (2000).
  9. G. Wu, A. Hook, S. Dong, and K. Yamada. Journal of Physical Chemistry Part A 104, 4102-4107 (2000).
  10. G. Wu, K. Yamada, S. Dong, and H. Grondey. Journal of the American Chemical Society 122, 4215-4216 (2000).
  11. S. Dong, K. Yamada, and G. Wu. Z. Naturforsch. 55A, 21-28 (2000).

 

Contact Information

Office: CHE408

NMR Room: CHE115

Lab: CHE438

Mailing Address:

Department of Chemistry,

Queen's University,

90 Bader Lane Kingston,

Ontario, Canada

K7L 3N6

Research contact:

Email:gang.wu.

Website contact:

Email:jiahui.shen.