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Both 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine) and its primary breakdown product, 2′-deoxyriboguanylurea (GuaUre-dR), have been shown to act as mutagens and epimutagens that cause replication stress and alter both DNA methylation and gene expression patterns. As cytosine analogues, both are expected to be preferentially incorporated into regions of GC skew where runs of cytosine residues are sequestered on one strand and guanine residues on the other. Given that such regions have been identified as sites with the potential for effects on gene expression and replication stress linked to formation of alternative DNA secondary structures, it is of interest to determine the influence that these base analogues might have on the stability of structures of this kind. Here we report that incorporation of GuaUre-dR into an i-motif-forming sequence decreases both the thermal and pH stability of an i-motif despite the apparent ability of GuaUre-dR to base pair with cytosine.
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