A Thermodynamic Study of Adenine and Thymine Substitutions in the Loops of the Oligodeoxyribonucleotide HTel

J Phys Chem B. 2016 Sep 1;120(34):8830-6. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b05601. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


Guanine-rich DNA oligodeoxyribonucleotides (ODN) can form four-stranded structures named quadruplexes (G4s), which are stabilized via the association of four guanine bases. Quadruplexes have a high level of conformational diversity depending on the molecularity, sequence, and the cation conditions of the G4 formation. Monomolecular G4 structures have nonguanine loops that usually consist of between one and four adenine and thymine residues. In the work reported here, we systematically modified the nucleotides in the loops of the 22 nucleotide ODN, HTel, which contains four repeats of the human telomeric sequence, GGGTTA. We studied the effect of different types of bases in the loops on the stability and topology of the G4s formed. We show that lower steric hindrance of pyrimidine residues increases the stability of G4s with a major enthalpic contribution. Stacking of the loop bases onto tetrads could compensate for the loss of rotational freedom. In addition, in the presence of sodium, the stabilities of the G4s are loop dependent. In the presence of potassium, the stability of G4 depend on the sequences of each loop. Lastly, in the presence of potassium ions, the modified HTel ODNs may exist in equilibrium of the two types of the hybrid topology, and these structures are stabilized by the second loop. Modifications of the bases in this loop change the topology and stability of the folded structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / chemistry*
  • Ions / chemistry
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry*
  • Potassium / chemistry
  • Sodium / chemistry
  • Thermodynamics*
  • Thymine / chemistry*


  • Ions
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Sodium
  • Adenine
  • Thymine
  • Potassium