Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

During replication and recombination, two DNA duplexes lie side by side. We have developed reagents that might be used to probe structure during these critical processes; they contain two intercalating groups connected by a rigid linker that forces those groups to point in opposite directions. If their stereochemistry proves appropriate, such structure-specific agents should intercalate specifically into adjacent duplexes in the Y- and X-shaped structures (i.e. 3- and 4-way junctions, now known as 3H and 4H junctions) found at replication and recombination sites. We prepared DNA structures in which four duplexes were arranged in all possible combinations around 2- and 4-way junctions and then probed the accessibility to DNase I of all their phosphodiester bonds. In the absence of any bis-intercalators, 7-9 nucleotides (nt) in each of the strands in 4-way junctions were protected from attack; protected regions were significantly offset to the 3' side of the junction in continuous strands, but only slightly offset, if at all, in exchanging strands. All the intercalators decreased accessibility throughout the structure, but none did so at specific points in the two adjacent arms of 4-way junctions. However, one bis-intercalator--but not its sister with a shorter linker--strikingly increased access to a particular CpT bond that lay 9 nt away from the centre of some 4-way junctions without reducing access to neighbouring bonds. Binding was both sequence and structure specific, and depended on complementary stereochemistry between bis-intercalator and junction.


Journal article


Nucleic Acids Res

Publication Date





1594 - 1601


Acridines, Base Sequence, Cross-Linking Reagents, DNA, Deoxyribonuclease I, Intercalating Agents, Molecular Sequence Data, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Phenanthridines, Recombination, Genetic