Low-frequency vibrational modes in G-quadruplexes reveal the mechanical properties of nucleic acids

González-Jiménez, M. , Ramakrishnan, G., Tukachev, N. , Senn, H. M. and Wynne, K. (2021) Low-frequency vibrational modes in G-quadruplexes reveal the mechanical properties of nucleic acids. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 23(23), pp. 13250-13260. (doi: 10.1039/D0CP05404F) (PMID:34095914) (PMCID:PMC8207511)

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Low-frequency vibrations play an essential role in biomolecular processes involving DNA such as gene expression, charge transfer, drug intercalation, and DNA–protein recognition. However, understanding the vibrational basis of these mechanisms relies on theoretical models due to the lack of experimental evidence. Here we present the low-frequency vibrational spectra of G-quadruplexes (structures formed by four strands of DNA) and B-DNA characterized using femtosecond optical Kerr-effect spectroscopy. Contrary to expectation, we found that G-quadruplexes show several strongly underdamped delocalized phonon-like modes that have the potential to contribute to the biology of the DNA at the atomic level. In addition, G-quadruplexes present modes at a higher frequency than B-DNA demonstrating that changes in the stiffness of the molecule alter its gigahertz to terahertz vibrational profile.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Senn, Dr Hans and Tukachev, Mr Nikita and Ramakrishnan, Dr Gopakumar and Wynne, Professor Klaas and Gonzalez Jimenez, Dr Mario
Authors: González-Jiménez, M., Ramakrishnan, G., Tukachev, N., Senn, H. M., and Wynne, K.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN (Online):1463-9084
Published Online:01 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Royal Society of Chemistry
First Published:First published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 23(23): 13250-13260
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
166776The structure and dynamics of water confined in nanoscale pools: the dynamic crossoverKlaas WynneEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J009733/1Chemistry
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171830EPSRC: Institutional Sponsorship 2015 - University of GlasgowMiles PadgettEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/N508792/1Computing Science
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304469CONTROLKlaas WynneEuropean Commission (EC)832703Chemistry