Nucleic Acid
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2021 ◽  
Yuxiao Zhou ◽  
Siyuan Xu ◽  
Mo Zhang ◽  
Qiang Wu

Enhancers generate bidirectional noncoding enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) that may regulate gene expression. At present, the eRNA function remains enigmatic. Here, we report a 5′ capped antisense eRNA PEARL (Pcdh eRNA associated with R-loop formation) that is transcribed from the protocadherin (Pcdh) α HS5-1 enhancer region. Through loss- and gain-of-function experiments with CRISPR/Cas9 DNA fragment editing, CRISPRi, and CRISPRa, as well as locked nucleic acid strategies, in conjunction with ChIRP, MeDIP, DRIP, QHR-4C, and HiChIP experiments, we found that PEARL regulates Pcdhα gene expression by forming local RNA–DNA duplexes (R-loops) in situ within the HS5-1 enhancer region to promote long-distance chromatin interactions between distal enhancers and target promoters. In particular, increased levels of eRNA PEARL via perturbing transcription elongation factor SPT6 lead to strengthened local three-dimensional chromatin organization within the Pcdh superTAD. These findings have important implications regarding molecular mechanisms by which the HS5-1 enhancer regulates stochastic Pcdhα promoter choice in single cells in the brain.

2021 ◽  
Mercè Cuadras ◽  
Jacques Planas ◽  
Ana Celma ◽  
Lucas Regis ◽  
Inés M. de Torres ◽  

Abstract Background: Lymph node (LN) status is a key prognostic factor in the decision-making process of prostate cancer (PCa) management. Sectioning and haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining technique remain the gold standard for the evaluation of LN metastases despite some limitations, especially low sensitivity in detecting an accurate tumour burden within the LN, as well as a subjective and time-consuming result. One-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA) quantifies mRNA copies of cytokeratin 19 (CK19) in a fast, objective, automated, and reproducible way, raising a general interest to explore its utility for lymphatic metastasis identification in different malignancies.Methods: To present the latest evidence related to the detection of LN metastases in several tumours by using OSNA compared with the conventional H&E method, a systematic review of articles published since March 2021 was conducted using PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases. References from primary papers and review articles were checked to obtain further potential studies. Our procedure for evaluating records identified during the literature search followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses criteria.Results: Twenty five studies were included. LN from six different groups of tumours: breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, lung, head and neck and prostate cancers has been assessed. OSNA was compared with post-operative formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections with H&E staining as the reference standard. Contingency tables were created, and concordance rate, sensitivity, specificity and predictive values were reported. Seventeen studies analysed the discordant cases using different techniques.Conclusion: OSNA method has a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of LN metastases in several CK19 expressing tumours. Available evidence encourages its usage in PCa patients to improve LN staging and prognosis.

2021 ◽  
Klaudia Mrazikova ◽  
Jiri Sponer ◽  
Vojtech Mlynsky ◽  
Pascal Auffinger ◽  
Holger Kruse

The lone-pair…π (lp…π) (deoxy)ribose…nucleobase stacking is a recurring structural motif in Z DNA and RNAs that is characterized by sub-van der Waals lp…π contacts (<3.0 Å). It is part of the structural signature of the CpG Z-steps in Z-DNA and r(UNCG) tetraloops. These nucleic acid structures are poorly behaving in molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Although the exact origin of these issues remains unclear, a significant part of the problem might be due to an imbalanced description of non-bonded interactions including the characteristic lp…π stacking. To gain insights into the links between lp…π stacking and MD issues, we present an in-depth comparison between accurate large-basis-set double-hybrid Kohn-Sham density functional theory calculations DSD-BLYP-D3/ma-def2-QZVPP (DHDF-D3) and data obtained with the non-bonded potential of the AMBER force field (AFF) for NpN Z-steps (N = G, A, C, U). Among other differences, we found that the AFF overestimates the DHDF D3 lp…π distances by ~0.1-0.2 Å while the deviation between the DHDF-D3 and AFF descriptions sharply increases in the short-range region of the interaction. Based on atom-in-molecule (AIM) polarizabilities and SAPT analysis, we inferred that the DHDF-D3 vs. AFF differences partly originate in the Lennard-Jones (LJ) parameters that are identical for nucleobase carbon atoms despite the presence/absence of connected electron withdrawing groups that lead to different effective volumes or vdW radii. Thus, to precisely model the very short CpG lp…π contact distances, we recommend revision of the nucleobase atom LJ parameters. Additionally, we suggest that the large discrepancy between DHDF-D3 and AFF short-range repulsive part of the interaction energy potential may significantly contribute to the poor performances of MD simulations of nucleic acid systems containing Z-steps. Understanding where, and if possible why, the point-charge-type effective potentials reach their limits is vital for developing next-generation FFs and for addressing specific issues in contemporary MD simulations.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 16 (9) ◽  
pp. e0256813
Maria Jose Lista ◽  
Pedro M. Matos ◽  
Thomas J. A. Maguire ◽  
Kate Poulton ◽  
Elena Ortiz-Zapater ◽  

There is a worldwide need for reagents to perform SARS-CoV-2 detection. Some laboratories have implemented kit-free protocols, but many others do not have the capacity to develop these and/or perform manual processing. We provide multiple workflows for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection in clinical samples by comparing several commercially available RNA extraction methods: QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit (QIAgen), RNAdvance Blood/Viral (Beckman) and Mag-Bind Viral DNA/RNA 96 Kit (Omega Bio-tek). We also compared One-step RT-qPCR reagents: TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (FastVirus, ThermoFisher Scientific), qPCRBIO Probe 1-Step Go Lo-ROX (PCR Biosystems) and Luna® Universal Probe One-Step RT-qPCR Kit (Luna, NEB). We used primer-probes that detect viral N (EUA CDC) and RdRP. RNA extraction methods provided similar results, with Beckman performing better with our primer-probe combinations. Luna proved most sensitive although overall the three reagents did not show significant differences. N detection was more reliable than that of RdRP, particularly in samples with low viral titres. Importantly, we demonstrated that heat treatment of nasopharyngeal swabs at 70°C for 10 or 30 min, or 90°C for 10 or 30 min (both original variant and B 1.1.7) inactivated SARS-CoV-2 employing plaque assays, and had minimal impact on the sensitivity of the qPCR in clinical samples. These findings make SARS-CoV-2 testing portable in settings that do not have CL-3 facilities. In summary, we provide several testing pipelines that can be easily implemented in other laboratories and have made all our protocols and SOPs freely available at

2021 ◽  
Vol 4 (1) ◽  
Martin Rieu ◽  
Jessica Valle-Orero ◽  
Bertrand Ducos ◽  
Jean-François Allemand ◽  
Vincent Croquette

AbstractFluorescence-free micro-manipulation of nucleic acids (NA) allows the functional characterization of DNA/RNA processing proteins, without the interference of labels, but currently fails to detect and quantify their binding. To overcome this limitation, we developed a method based on single-molecule force spectroscopy, called kinetic locking, that allows a direct in vitro visualization of protein binding while avoiding any kind of chemical disturbance of the protein’s natural function. We validate kinetic locking by measuring accurately the hybridization energy of ultrashort nucleotides (5, 6, 7 bases) and use it to measure the dynamical interactions of Escherichia coli/E. coli RecQ helicase with its DNA substrate.

Lindsey R. Robinson-McCarthy ◽  
Alexander J. Mijalis ◽  
Gabriel T. Filsinger ◽  
Helena de Puig ◽  
Nina M. Donghia ◽  

To meet the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, research laboratories shifted their focus and clinical diagnostic laboratories developed and utilized new assays. Nucleic acid-based testing became widespread and, for the first time, was used as a prophylactic measure.

2021 ◽  
Vol 22 (18) ◽  
pp. 9948
Weronika Kotkowiak ◽  
Anna Pasternak

G-quadruplexes constitute an important type of nucleic acid structure, which can be found in living cells and applied by cell machinery as pivotal regulatory elements. Importantly, robust development of SELEX technology and modern, nucleic acid-based therapeutic strategies targeted towards various molecules have also revealed a large group of potent aptamers whose structures are grounded in G-quadruplexes. In this review, we analyze further extension of tetraplexes by additional structural elements and investigate whether G-quadruplex junctions with duplex, hairpin, triplex, or second G-quadruplex motifs are favorable for aptamers stability and biological activity. Furthermore, we indicate the specific and pivotal role of the G-quadruplex domain and the additional structural elements in interactions with target molecules. Finally, we consider the potency of G-quadruplex junctions in future applications and indicate the emerging research area that is still waiting for development to obtain highly specific and effective nucleic acid-based molecular tools.

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