Studying Z-DNA and B-to Z-DNA transitions using a cytosine analogue FRET-pair
Journal article, 2016
Herein, we report on the use of a tricyclic cytosine FRET pair, incorporated into DNA with different base pair separations, to study Z-DNA and B-Z DNA junctions. With its position inside the DNA structure, the FRET pair responds to a B- to Z-DNA transition with a distinct change in FRET efficiency for each donor/acceptor configuration allowing reliable structural probing. Moreover, we show how fluorescence spectroscopy and our cytosine analogues can be used to determine rate constants for the B- to Z-DNA transition mechanism. The modified cytosines have little influence on the transition and the FRET pair is thus an easily implemented and virtually non-perturbing fluorescence tool to study Z-DNA. This nucleobase analogue FRET pair represents a valuable addition to the limited number of fluorescence methods available to study Z-DNA and we suggest it will facilitate, for example, deciphering the B- to Z-DNA transition mechanism and investigating the interaction of DNA with Z-DNA binding proteins.