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Alternative DNA Structures In Vivo: Molecular Evidence and Remaining Questions

Lucie Poggi 1, 2 Guy-Franck Richard 2, * 
* Corresponding author
1 Collège Doctoral
SU - Sorbonne Université
Abstract : Duplex DNA naturally folds into a right-handed double helix in physiological conditions. Some sequences of unusual base composition may nevertheless form alternative structures, as was shown for many repeated sequences in vitro. However, evidence for the formation of noncanonical structures in living cells is difficult to gather. It mainly relies on genetic assays demonstrating their function in vivo or through genetic instability reflecting particular properties of such structures. Efforts were made to reveal their existence directly in a living cell, mainly by generating antibodies specific to secondary structures or using chemical ligands selected for their affinity to these structures. Among secondary structure-forming DNAs are G-quadruplexes, human fragile sites containing minisatellites, AT-rich regions, inverted repeats able to form cruciform structures, hairpin-forming CAG/CTG triplet repeats, and triple helices formed by homopurine-homopyrimidine GAA/TTC trinucleotide repeats. Many of these alternative structures are involved in human pathologies, such as neurological or developmental disorders, as in the case of trinucleotide repeats, or cancers triggered by translocations linked to fragile sites. This review will discuss and highlight evidence supporting the formation of alternative DNA structures in vivo and will emphasize the role of the mismatch repair machinery in binding mispaired DNA duplexes, triggering genetic instability.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 1:05:09 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 3:36:24 AM

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Lucie Poggi, Guy-Franck Richard. Alternative DNA Structures In Vivo: Molecular Evidence and Remaining Questions. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, American Society for Microbiology, 2020, 85 (1), pp.e00110-20. ⟨10.1128/MMBR.00110-20⟩. ⟨pasteur-03657816⟩

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