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Biochimie. 2008 Aug;90(8):1149-71. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2008.02.020. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Structures, folding patterns, and functions of intramolecular DNA G-quadruplexes found in eukaryotic promoter regions.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, 1703 E. Mabel, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


In its simplest form, a DNA G-quadruplex is a four-stranded DNA structure that is composed of stacked guanine tetrads. G-quadruplex-forming sequences have been identified in eukaryotic telomeres, as well as in non-telomeric genomic regions, such as gene promoters, recombination sites, and DNA tandem repeats. Of particular interest are the G-quadruplex structures that form in gene promoter regions, which have emerged as potential targets for anticancer drug development. Evidence for the formation of G-quadruplex structures in living cells continues to grow. In this review, we examine recent studies on intramolecular G-quadruplex structures that form in the promoter regions of some human genes in living cells and discuss the biological implications of these structures. The identification of G-quadruplex structures in promoter regions provides us with new insights into the fundamental aspects of G-quadruplex topology and DNA sequence-structure relationships. Progress in G-quadruplex structural studies and the validation of the biological role of these structures in cells will further encourage the development of small molecules that target these structures to specifically modulate gene transcription.

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