In the half century since the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA, it has become increasingly clear that DNA functionality is based on much more than its sequence in a double-helical structure. Further advances have highlighted the importance of additional aspects of DNA structure: its packaging in the higher order chromatin structure, positioning of nucleosomes along the DNA, and the occurrence of non-helical DNA structures. Of these, the latter has been problematic to prove empirically. Here, we describe a method that uses non-denaturing bisulfite sequencing on isolated Arabidopsis thaliana nuclei to determine the location of cytosines positioned outside the double helix as a result of non-B-form DNA structures. We couple this with computational methods and S1 nuclease digest to reliably identify stable, non-B-form, cruciform structures. This enables us to identify a palindrome in the promoter of FLOWERING LOCUS T that forms a stable non-B-form structure. The stronger conservation of the ability to form a non-helical secondary structure than of the sequence suggests that this structure is biologically relevant.
Keywords: DNA structure; cruciform DNA; genome organization.
Copyright © 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.