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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 May;40(9):4137-45. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1308. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

The porphyrin TmPyP4 unfolds the extremely stable G-quadruplex in MT3-MMP mRNA and alleviates its repressive effect to enhance translation in eukaryotic cells.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA.


We report that the cationic porphyrin TmPyP4, which is known mainly as a DNA G-quadruplex stabilizer, unfolds an unusually stable all purine RNA G-quadruplex (M3Q) that is located in the 5'-UTR of MT3-MMP mRNA. When the interaction between TmPyP4 and M3Q was monitored by UV spectroscopy a 22-nm bathochromic shift and 75% hypochromicity of the porphin major Soret band was observed indicating direct binding of the two molecules. TmPyP4 disrupts folded M3Q in a concentration-dependent fashion as was observed by circular dichroism (CD), 1D (1)H NMR and native gel electrophoresis. Additionally, when TmPyP4 is present during the folding process it inhibits the M3Q RNA from adopting a G-quadruplex structure. Using a dual reporter gene construct that contained the M3Q sequence alone or the entire 5'-UTR of MT3-MMP mRNA, we report here that TmPyP4 can relieve the inhibitory effect of the M3Q G-quadruplex. However, the same concentrations of TmPyP4 failed to affect translation of a mutated construct. Thus, TmPyP4 has the ability to unfold an RNA G-quadruplex of extreme stability and modulate activity of a reporter gene presumably via the disruption of the G-quadruplex.

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