Probing the conformational switch of I-motif DNA using tunable resistive pulse sensing

Shi, Jing, and Ming Zhou. "Probing the conformational switch of I-motif DNA using tunable resistive pulse sensing." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-General Subjects 1862, no. 12 (2018): 2564-2569.

I-motif DNA, which can fold and unfold reversibly in various environments, plays a significant role in DNA nanotechnology and biological functions. Thus, it is of fundamental importance to identify the different conformations of i-motif DNA. Here, we demonstrate that distinct structures of i-motif DNA conjugated to polystyrene spheres can be distinguished through tunable resistive pulse sensing technique. When dispersed in acidic buffer, i-motif DNA coating on polystyrene spheres would fold into quadruplex structure and subsequently induce an apparent increase in the translocation duration time upon passing through a nanopore due to the shielding effect of the surface charge of the nanospheres. However, if the DNA strands don’t have conformational changes in acidic buffer, little shift can be observed in the translocation duration time of the DNA functionalized polystyrene spheres. A before-and-after assay was also performed to illustrate the fast speed of i-motif DNA folding using this technique. The successful implementation of tunable resistive pulse sensing to monitor the conformational transition of i-motif DNA provides a potential tool to detect the structural changes of DNA and an alternative approach to study the function of DNA structures.

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