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Nature. 1992 Mar 12;356(6365):164-8.

Quadruplex structure of Oxytricha telomeric DNA oligonucleotides.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


The telomeres of most eukaryotes contain a repeating G-rich sequence with the consensus d(T/A)1-4G1-8, of which 12-16 bases form a 3' single-strand overhang beyond the telomeric duplex. It has been proposed that these G-rich oligonucleotides associate to form four-stranded structures from one, two or four individual strands and that these structures may be relevant in vivo. The proposed structures contain Hoogsteen base-paired G-quartets, precedent for which has been in the literature for many years. Here we use 1H NMR spectroscopy to study the conformations of the DNA oligonucleotides d(G4T4G4) (Oxy-1.5) and d(G4T4G4T4G4T4G4) (Oxy-3.5) which contain the Oxytricha telomere repeat (T4G4). We find that these molecules fold to form a symmetrical bimolecular and an intramolecular quadruplex, respectively. Both structures have four G-quartets formed from nucleotides that are alternately syn and anti along each strand. This arrangement differs from earlier models in which the strands are alternately all syn or all anti. The T4 loops in Oxy-1.5 are on opposite ends of the quadruplex and loop diagonally across the G-quartet, resulting in adjacent strands being alternately parallel and antiparallel.

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