Massive expansion of a DNA hexanucleotide sequence repeat (C2G4) within the human C9orf72 gene has been linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases. In sodium or potassium salt solutions, single-stranded d(C2G4)n DNAs fold to form G-quadruplexes. We have found that in magnesium or lithium salt solutions, especially under slightly acidic conditions, d(C2G4)n oligonucleotides fold to form a distinctive higher order structure whose most striking feature is an “inverted” circular dichroism spectrum, which is distinguishable from the spectrum of the left handed DNA double-helix, Z-DNA. On the basis of CD spectroscopy, gel mobility as well as chemical protection analysis, we propose that this structure, which we call “iCD-DNA”, may be a left-handed Hoogsteen base-paired duplex, an unorthodox G-quadruplex/i-motif composite, or a non-canonical, “braided” DNA triplex. Given that iCD-DNA forms under slightly acidic solution conditions, we do not know at this point in time whether or not it forms within living cells.
Lat, P. K., & Sen, D. (2018). (C2G4)n repeat expansion sequences from the C9orf72 gene form an unusual DNA higher-order structure in the pH range of 5-6. PLoS ONE, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198418