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Publication Detail
X-Ray Crystallographic Studies of G-Quadruplex Structures.
The application of X-ray crystallographic methods toward a structural understanding of G-quadruplex (G4) motifs at atomic level resolution can provide researchers with exciting opportunities to explore new structural arrangements of putative G4 forming sequences and investigate their recognition by small molecule compounds. The crowded and ordered crystalline environment requires the self-assembly of stable G4 motifs, allowing for an understanding of their inter- and intramolecular interactions in a packed environment, revealing thermodynamically stable topologies. Additionally, crystallographic data derived from these experiments in the form of electron density provides valuable opportunities to visualize various solvent molecules associated with G4s along with the geometries of the metal ions associated within the central channel-elements critical to the understanding G4 stability and topology. Now, with the advent of affordable, commercially sourced and purified synthetic DNA and RNA molecules suitable for immediate crystallization trials, and combined with the availability of specialized and validated crystallization screens, researchers can now undertake in-house crystallization trials without the need for local expertise. When this is combined with access to modern synchrotron platforms that offer complete automation of the data collection process-from the receipt of crystals to delivery of merged and scaled data for the visualization of electron density-the application of X-ray crystallographic techniques is made open to nonspecialist researchers. In this chapter we aim to provide a simple how-to guide to enable the reader to undertake crystallographic experiments involving G4s, encompassing the design of oligonucleotide sequences, fundamentals of the crystallization process and modern strategies used in setting up successful crystallization trials. We will also describe data collection strategies, phasing, electron density visualization, and model building. We will draw on our own experiences in the laboratory and hopefully build an appreciation of the utility of the X-ray crystallographic approaches to investigating G4s.
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