Double-stranded DNA is able to form triple-helical structures by accommodating a third nucleotide strand. A nucleic acid triplex occurs according to Hoogsteen rules that predict the stability and affinity of the third strand bound to the Watson–Crick duplex. The “triplex-forming oligonucleotide” (TFO) can be a short sequence of RNA that binds to the major groove of the targeted duplex only when this duplex presents a sequence of purine or pyrimidine bases in one of the DNA strands. Many nuclear proteins are known to bind triplex DNA or DNA:RNA, but their biological functions are unexplored. We identified sequences that are capable of engaging as the “triplex-forming oligonucleotide” in both the pre-lncRNA and pre-mRNA collections of Drosophila melanogaster. These motifs were matched against the Drosophila genome in order to identify putative sequences of triplex formation in intergenic regions, promoters, and introns/exons. Most of the identified TFOs appear to be located in the intronic region of the analyzed genes. Computational prediction of the most targeted genes by TFOs originating from pre-lncRNAs and pre-mRNAs revealed that they are restrictively associated with development- and morphogenesis-related gene networks. The refined analysis by Gene Ontology enrichment demonstrates that some individual TFOs present genome-wide scale matches that are located in numerous genes and regulatory sequences. The triplex DNA:RNA computational mapping at the genome-wide scale suggests broad interference in the regulatory process of the gene networks orchestrated by TFO RNAs acting in association simultaneously at multiple sites.
Hoogsteen Rules, development, epigenetics, gene Networks, triplex Dna:rna
Pasquier, C., Agnel, S., and Robichon, A. (2017). The Mapping of Predicted Triplex DNA:RNA in the Drosophila Genome Reveals a Prominent Location in Development- and Morphogenesis-Related Genes. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7, 2295–2304. DOI: 10.1534/g3.117.042911