The DNA secondary structures that deviate from the classic Watson and Crick base pairing are increasingly being reported to form transiently in the cell and regulate specific cellular mechanisms. Human viruses are cell parasites that have evolved mechanisms shared with the host cell to support their own replication and spreading. Contrary to human host cells, viruses display a diverse array of nucleic acid types, which include DNA or RNA in single-stranded or double-stranded conformations. This heterogeneity improves the possible occurrence of non-canonical nucleic acid structures. We have previously shown that human virus genomes are enriched in G-rich sequences that fold in four-stranded nucleic acid secondary structures, the G-quadruplexes.Here, by extensive bioinformatics analysis on all available genomes, we showed that human viruses are enriched in highly conserved multiple A (and T or U) tracts, with such an array that they could in principle form quadruplex structures. By circular dichroism, NMR, and Taq polymerase stop assays, we proved that, while A/T/U-quadruplexes do not form, these tracts still display biological significance, as they invariably trigger polymerase pausing within two bases from the A/T/U tract. "A" bases display the strongest effect. Most of the identified A-tracts are in the coding strand, both at the DNA and RNA levels, suggesting their possible relevance during viral translation. This study expands on the presence and mechanism of nucleic acid secondary structures in human viruses and provides a new direction for antiviral research.

Human Virus Genomes Are Enriched in Conserved Adenine/Thymine/Uracil Multiple Tracts That Pause Polymerase Progression

Ruggiero, Emanuela;Lavezzo, Enrico;Grazioli, Marco;Zanin, Irene;Richter, Sara N;Toppo, Stefano
2022

Abstract

The DNA secondary structures that deviate from the classic Watson and Crick base pairing are increasingly being reported to form transiently in the cell and regulate specific cellular mechanisms. Human viruses are cell parasites that have evolved mechanisms shared with the host cell to support their own replication and spreading. Contrary to human host cells, viruses display a diverse array of nucleic acid types, which include DNA or RNA in single-stranded or double-stranded conformations. This heterogeneity improves the possible occurrence of non-canonical nucleic acid structures. We have previously shown that human virus genomes are enriched in G-rich sequences that fold in four-stranded nucleic acid secondary structures, the G-quadruplexes.Here, by extensive bioinformatics analysis on all available genomes, we showed that human viruses are enriched in highly conserved multiple A (and T or U) tracts, with such an array that they could in principle form quadruplex structures. By circular dichroism, NMR, and Taq polymerase stop assays, we proved that, while A/T/U-quadruplexes do not form, these tracts still display biological significance, as they invariably trigger polymerase pausing within two bases from the A/T/U tract. "A" bases display the strongest effect. Most of the identified A-tracts are in the coding strand, both at the DNA and RNA levels, suggesting their possible relevance during viral translation. This study expands on the presence and mechanism of nucleic acid secondary structures in human viruses and provides a new direction for antiviral research.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3454513
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact