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Org Biomol Chem. 2006 Sep 21;4(18):3383-91. Epub 2006 Jun 22.

DNA nanomachines and nanostructures involving quadruplexes.

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Laboratoire de Biophysique, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle USM503, INSERM U565, CNRS UMR 5153, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231, Paris cedex 05, France.


DNA is an attractive component for molecular recognition, because of its self-assembly properties. Its three-dimensional structure can differ markedly from the classical double helix. For example, DNA or RNA strands carrying guanine or cytosine stretches associate into four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes or i-DNA, respectively. Since 2002, several groups have described nanomachines that take advantage of this structural polymorphism. We first introduce the unusual structures that are involved in these devices (i.e., i-DNA and G-quadruplexes) and then describe the opening and closing steps that allow cycling. A quadruplex-duplex molecular machine is then presented in detail, together with the rules that govern its formation, its opening/closing kinetics and the various technical and physico-chemical parameters that play a role in the efficiency of this device. Finally, we review the few examples of nanostructures that involve quadruplexes.

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