Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Randy Wadkins

Second Advisor

Susan Pedigo

Third Advisor

Saumen Chakraborty

Relational Format



Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a well-known double stranded, helical, biological molecule. In addition to its more commonly known structure, DNA can also form more complicated structures like G-quadruplexes and i-motifs (iM). The iMs are formed by cytosine rich DNA and are a four stranded structure that is typically looped around itself. The iM formation is typically pH-dependent and is favored in more acidic conditions; the pKa value is approximately 6.5. This pKa value allows for potential in vivo formation, since the cells have a pH of approximately 7.3. Due to this, iMs are thought to be powerful, innovative molecules for gene regulation and specific drug targeting and delivery mechanisms (1, 2, 3, 4, 11). In this thesis, the iM-forming DNA strand of AC01019.1 in various solutions of crowding agents, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) and Dextran, were explored and tested (7). The purpose of this works was to determine the effects of the various concentrations of crowding agents and pH values on the formation of iM DNA. Throughout the research project, the data was measured and recorded using analytical tools such as a pH meter, a UV-Vis spectrometer, and a circular dichroism spectrometer. Software systems such as SpectraSuite, Olis, and Microsoft Excel were also used in displaying the collected data. All in all, the experiment was successful in showing how different concentrations of crowding agents affect iMs and their pH tolerance and the results show promise of the use of iMs in medicine.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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