We studied the effects of natural and synthetic polyamines on the conformation of an oligodeoxyribonucleotide (ODN1) harboring the estrogen response element (ERE) by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Putrescine and spermidine had no marked effect on the CD spectrum of ODN1. In contrast, spermine provoked and stabilized two characteristic changes in the CD spectrum. The first change was indicated by an increase in the intensity of the CD band at 280 nm at 0.5 mM spermine in Tris-HCl buffer containing 50 mM NaCl. This change appears to be related to changes in base tilt and conformational alterations similar to A-DNA. At 1-2 mM spermine, the CD spectrum was characterized by a loss of positive bands at 220 and 270 nm. This change might have contributions from polyalmine-induced condensation/aggregation of DNA. Spectral measurements were also conducted in Tris-HCl buffer containing 150 mM NaCl to minimize contributions from condensation and aggregation of ODN1. Under these conditions, CD spectral changes were retained by (ODN1), although the magnitude of the change was diminished. In contrast, a control oligdeoxyribonucleotide (ODN2) having similar base composition did not show any significant change in the CD spectrum in the presence of 150 mM NaCl and 2 mM spermine. The changes in the CD spectrum of ODN1 were highly sensitive to polyamine structure, as evidenced by experiments using spermine analogs with altered number of -CH2- groups separating the amino and imino groups. Electrophoretic mobility shift analysis further showed ODN1 stabilization by spermine and its analogs. These data demonstrate the ability of an ODN containing ERE to undergo conformational transitions in the presence of polyamines and suggest a possible mechanism for polyamine-mediated alterations in the interaction of estrogen receptor with ERE.
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