The study of ligand interaction with G-quadruplex DNA is an active research area, because many ligands are shown to bind G-quadruplex structures, showing anticancer effects. Here, we show, for the first time, how fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) can be used to study binding kinetics of ligands with G-quadruplex DNA at the single molecule level. As an example, we study interaction of a benzo-phenoxazine ligand (Cresyl Violet, CV) with antiparallel and (3 + 1) hybrid G-quadruplex structures formed by human telomeric sequence. By using simple modifications in FCS setup, we describe how one can extract the reaction kinetics from diffusion-coupled correlation curves. It is found that the ligand (CV) binds stronger, by an order of magnitude, to a (3 + 1) hybrid structure, compared to an antiparallel one. Ensemble-averaged time-resolved fluorescence experiments are also carried out to obtain the binding equilibrium constants (K) of ligand-quadruplex interactions in bulk solution for the first time, which are found to match very well with FCS results. Global analysis of FCS data provides association (k+) and dissociation (k-) rates of the ligand in the two structures. Results indicate that stronger ligand binding to the (3 + 1) hybrid structure is controlled by the dissociation rate, rather than the association rate of ligand in the quadruplexes. Circular dichroism (CD) and induced-CD spectra show that the ligand not only binds at different conformations in the quadruplexes, but also induces antiparallel structure to form a mixed-type hybrid structure in Na+ solution. However, in K+ solution, the ligand stabilizes the (3 + 1) hybrid structure. Molecular docking studies predict the possible differences in binding sites of the ligand inside two quadruplexes, which strongly support the experimental observations. Results suggest that different binding modes of the ligand to the quadruplex structures actually assist the alteration of structures differently.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry