Non B-DNA structures and genomic instability associated with myotonic dystrophy type 2 (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeats

Sharon Patricia Fernandez Edwards, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


There are many diseases associated with the expansion of DNA repeats in humans. Myotonic dystrophy type 2 is one of such diseases, characterized by expansions of a (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeat tract in intron 1 of zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) in chromosome 3q21.3. The DM2 repeat tract contains a flanking region 5' to the tract that consists of a polymorphic repetitive sequence (TG)14-25(TCTG)4-11(CCTG) n. The (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeat is typically 11-26 repeats in persons without the disease, but can expand up to 11,000 repeats in affected individuals, which is the largest expansion seen in DNA repeat diseases to date. This DNA tract remains one of the least characterized disease-associated DNA repeats, and mechanisms causing the repeat expansion in humans have yet to be elucidated. Alternative, non B-DNA structures formed by the expanded repeats are typical in DNA repeat expansion diseases. These sequences may promote instability of the repeat tracts. I determined that slipped strand structure formation occurs for (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeats at a length of 42 or more. In addition, Z-DNA structure forms in the flanking human sequence adjacent to the (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeat tract. I have also performed genetic assays in E. coli cells and results indicate that the (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeats are more similar to the highly unstable (CTG)•(CAG) repeat tracts seen in Huntington's disease and myotonic dystrophy type 1, than to those of the more stable (ATTCT)•(AGAAT) repeat tracts of spinocerebellar ataxia type 10. This instability, however, is RecA-independent in the (CCTG)•(CAGG) and (ATTCT)•(AGAAT) repeats, whereas the instability is RecA-dependent in the (CTG)•(CAG) repeats. Structural studies of the (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeat tract and the flanking sequence, as well as genetic selection assays may reveal the mechanisms responsible for the repeat instability in E. coli, and this may lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms contributing to the human disease state.

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Recommended Citation

Edwards, Sharon Patricia Fernandez, "Non B-DNA structures and genomic instability associated with myotonic dystrophy type 2 (CCTG)•(CAGG) repeats" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249197.