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Detection of a G-Quadruplex as a Regulatory Element in Thymidylate synthase for Gene Silencing Using Polypurine Reverse Hoogsteen Hairpins

AuthorsAubets, Eva; Félix, Alex J.; Garavís, Miguel; Reyes, Laura; Aviñó, Anna ; Eritja Casadellà, Ramón ; Ciudad, Carlos J.; Noé, Véronique
Thymidylate synthase
Anti-tumor therapy
Gene silencing
Gene regulation
Issue Date25-Jun-2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences 21 (14): 5028 (2020)
AbstractThymidylate synthase (TYMS) enzyme is an anti-cancer target given its role in DNA biosynthesis. TYMS inhibitors (e.g., 5-Fluorouracil) can lead to drug resistance through an autoregulatory mechanism of TYMS that causes its overexpression. Since G-quadruplexes (G4) can modulate gene expression, we searched for putative G4 forming sequences (G4FS) in the TYMS gene that could be targeted using polypurine reverse Hoogsteen hairpins (PPRH). G4 structures in the TYMS gene were detected using the quadruplex forming G-rich sequences mapper and confirmed through spectroscopic approaches such as circular dichroism and NMR using synthetic oligonucleotides. Interactions between G4FS and TYMS protein or G4FS and a PPRH targeting this sequence (HpTYMS-G4-T) were studied by EMSA and thioflavin T staining. We identified a G4FS in the 5’UTR of the TYMS gene in both DNA and RNA capable of interacting with TYMS protein. The PPRH binds to its corresponding target dsDNA, promoting G4 formation. In cancer cells, HpTYMG-G4-T decreased TYMS mRNA and protein levels, leading to cell death, and showed a synergic effect when combined with 5-fluorouracil. These results reveal the presence of a G4 motif in the TYMS gene, probably involved in the autoregulation of TYMS expression, and the therapeutic potential of a PPRH targeted to the G4FS.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21145028
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