Issue 43, 2021

Fe II4L4 tetrahedron binds and aggregates DNA G-quadruplexes


Since the discovery of the G-quadruplex (G4) structure in telomeres in 1980s, studies have established the role it plays in various biological processes. Here we report binding between DNA G4 and a self-assembled tetrahedral metal-organic cage 1 and consequent formation of aggregates, whereby the cage protects the DNA G4 from cleavage by S1 nuclease. We monitor DNA–cage interaction using fluorescence spectroscopy, firstly by quenching of a fluorescent label appended to the 5′ end of G4. Secondly, we detect the decrease in fluorescence of the G4-selective dyes thioflavin-T and Zn-PPIX bound to various DNA G4 sequences following the addition of cage 1. Our results demonstrate that 1 interacts with a wide range of G4s. Moreover, gel electrophoresis, circular dichroism and dynamic light scattering measurements establish the binding of 1 to G4 and indicate the formation of aggregate structures. Finally, we find that DNA G4 contained in an aggregate of cage 1 is protected from cleavage by S1 nuclease.

Graphical abstract: FeII4L4 tetrahedron binds and aggregates DNA G-quadruplexes

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
12 Aug 2021
05 Oct 2021
First published
07 Oct 2021
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2021,12, 14564-14569

FeII4L4 tetrahedron binds and aggregates DNA G-quadruplexes

J. Zhu, Z. Yan, F. Bošković, C. J. E. Haynes, M. Kieffer, J. L. Greenfield, J. Wang, J. R. Nitschke and U. F. Keyser, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 14564 DOI: 10.1039/D1SC04430C

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity