Acta Crystallographica Section D

Biological Crystallography

Volume 70, Part 2 (February 2014)


research papers



Acta Cryst. (2014). D70, 362-370    [ doi:10.1107/S1399004713028095 ]

A regular thymine tetrad and a peculiar supramolecular assembly in the first crystal structure of an all-LNA G-quadruplex

I. Russo Krauss, G. N. Parkinson, A. Merlino, C. A. Mattia, A. Randazzo, E. Novellino, L. Mazzarella and F. Sica

Abstract: Locked nucleic acids (LNAs) are formed by bicyclic ribonucleotides where the O2' and C4' atoms are linked through a methylene bridge and the sugar is blocked in a 3'-­endo conformation. They represent a promising tool for therapeutic and diagnostic applications and are characterized by higher thermal stability and nuclease resistance with respect to their natural counterparts. However, structural descriptions of LNA-containing quadruplexes are rather limited, since few NMR models have been reported in the literature. Here, the first crystallographically derived model of an all-LNA-substituted quadruplex-forming sequence 5'-­TGGGT-3' is presented refined at 1.7 Å resolution. This high-resolution crystallographic analysis reveals a regular parallel G-quadruplex arrangement terminating in a well defined thymine tetrad at the 3'-end. The detailed picture of the hydration pattern reveals LNA-specific features in the solvent distribution. Interestingly, two closely packed quadruplexes are present in the asymmetric unit. They face one another with their 3'-ends giving rise to a compact higher-order structure. This new assembly suggests a possible way in which sequential quadruplexes can be disposed in the crowded cell environment. Furthermore, as the formation of ordered structures by molecular self-assembly is an effective strategy to obtain nanostructures, this study could open the way to the design of a new class of LNA-based building blocks for nanotechnology.

PDB reference: 4l0a

Keywords: locked nucleic acids; G-quadruplex; thymine tetrad.


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