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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006;34(14):3887-96. Epub 2006 Aug 10.

Gene function correlates with potential for G4 DNA formation in the human genome.

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  • 1Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, University of Washington School of Medicine, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195-7650, USA.


G-rich genomic regions can form G4 DNA upon transcription or replication. We have quantified the potential for G4 DNA formation (G4P) of the 16 654 genes in the human RefSeq database, and then correlated gene function with G4P. We have found that very low and very high G4P correlates with specific functional classes of genes. Notably, tumor suppressor genes have very low G4P and proto-oncogenes have very high G4P. G4P of these genes is evenly distributed between exons and introns, and it does not reflect enrichment for CpG islands or local chromosomal environment. These results show that genomic structure undergoes selection based on gene function. Selection based on G4P could promote genomic stability (or instability) of specific classes of genes; or reflect mechanisms for global regulation of gene expression.

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