Role of Everlasting Triplet Expansions in Protein Evolution
Several neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases are caused by genetically unstable triplet repeat sequences (CTG.CAG, CGG.CCG, or AAG.CTT) in or near the responsible genes. We implemented novel cloning strategies with chemically synthesized oligonucleotides to clone seven of the triplet repeat sequences (GTA.TAC, GAT.ATC, GTT.AAC, CAC.GTG, AGG.CCT, TCG.CGA, and AAG.CTT), and the adjoining paper (Ohshima, K., Kang, S., Larson, J. E., and Wells, R. D.(1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 16784-16791) describes studies on TTA.TAA. This approach in conjunction with in vivo expansion studies in Escherichia coli enabled the preparation of at least 81 plasmids containing the repeat sequences with lengths of approximately 16 up to 158 triplets in both orientations with varying extents of polymorphisms. The inserts were characterized by DNA sequencing as well as DNA polymerase pausings, two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis, and chemical probe analyses to evaluate the capacity to adopt negative supercoil induced non-B DNA conformations. AAG.CTT and AGG.CCT form intramolecular triplexes, and the other five repeat sequences do not form any previously characterized non-B structures. However, long tracts of TCG.CGA showed strong inhibition of DNA synthesis at specific loci in the repeats as seen in the cases of CTG.CAG and CGG.CCG (Kang, S., Ohshima, K., Shimizu, M., Amirhaeri, S., and Wells, R. D.(1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 27014-27021). This work along with other studies (Wells, R. D.(1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 2875-2878) on CTG.CAG, CGG.CCG, and TTA.TAA makes available long inserts of all 10 triplet repeat sequences for a variety of physical, molecular biological, genetic, and medical investigations. A model to explain the reduction in mRNA abundance in Friedreich's ataxia based on intermolecular triplex formation is proposed.