Potential for H-DNA in the human MUC1 mucin gene promoter

Kristie L. Nelson, Nicole A. Becker, Gurcharan S. Pahwa, Michael A. Hollingsworth, L. James Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Similar imperfect purine/pyrimidine mirror repeat (PMR) elements have previously been identified upstream of the human MUC1 mucin and CFTR genes. These elements confer S1 nuclease sensitivity on isolated plasmid DNA at low pH. We now present a detailed characterization of the non-B DNA structure responsible for S1 nuclease sensitivity upstream of the MUC1 gene. A ~90- base pair (bp) DNA fragment containing a 32-bp PMR element termed M-PMR3 was subcloned into a recombinant vector. This fragment conferred S1 nuclease sensitivity on the resulting supercoiled plasmid. High resolution mapping of sites reactive to S1 and P1 nucleases demonstrates that cleavage occurs within the M-PMR3 element. High resolution mapping with chemical agents selective for non-B DNA provides evidence that M-PMR3 adopts an H-DNA structure (intramolecular triple helix) in the less common H-y5 isomer at low pH. This result is observed in the presence or absence of Mg2+. Mutation of the native M-PMR3 element to create perfect homopurine/homopyrimidine mirror symmetry alters the preferred folding to the more common H-y3 triplex DNA isomer. These results demonstrate that imperfections in mirror symmetry can alter the relative stabilities of different H-DNA isomers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18061-18067
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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