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Left-handed Z-DNA is an energetically unfavorable DNA structure that could form mostly under certain physiological conditions and was known to be involved in a number of cellular activities such as transcription regulation. We have compared the distributions and functions of Z-DNA in the genomes of Arabidopsis and rice, and observed that Z-DNA occurs in rice at least 9 times more often than in Arabidopsis; similar observations hold for other monocots and dicots. In addition, Z-DNA is significantly enriched in the coding regions of Arabidopsis, and in the high-GC-content regions of rice. Based on our analyses, we speculate that Z-DNA may play a role in regulating the expression of transcription factors, inhibitors, translation repressors, succinate dehydrogenases and glutathione-disulfide reductases in Arabidopsis, and it may affect the expression of vesicle and nucleosome genes and genes involved in alcohol transporter activity, stem cell maintenance, meristem development and reproductive structure development in rice.


Chan Zhou, Fengfeng Zhou, Ying Xu. Comparative analyses of distributions and functions of Z-DNA in Arabidopsis and rice. Genomics. 2009 Apr;93(4):383-91

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PMID: 19103278

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