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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Apr 15;90(8):3157-61.

Identification and characterization of a nuclease activity specific for G4 tetrastranded DNA.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.


We have identified a nuclease activity that is specific for G4 tetrastranded DNA. This activity, found in a partially purified fraction for a yeast telomere-binding protein, binds to DNA molecules with G4 tetrastranded structure, regardless of their nucleotide sequences, and cleaves the DNA in a neighboring single-stranded region 5' to the G4 structure. Competition with various G4-DNA molecules inhibits the cleavage reaction, suggesting that this nuclease activity is specific for G4 tetrastranded DNA. The existence of this enzymatic activity that reacts with G4 DNAs but not with single-stranded or Watson-Crick duplex DNAs suggests that tetrastranded DNA may have a distinct biological function in vivo.

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