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Biochemistry. 2011 Jun 14;50(23):5369-78. doi: 10.1021/bi2003857. Epub 2011 May 18.

Loop lengths of G-quadruplex structures affect the G-quadruplex DNA binding selectivity of the RGG motif in Ewing's sarcoma.

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Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, Shizuoka University , 836 Ohya, Suruga, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan.


The G-quadruplex nucleic acid structural motif is a target for designing molecules with potential anticancer properties. To achieve therapeutic selectivity by targeting the G-quadruplex, the molecules must be able to differentiate between the DNA of different G-quadruplexes. We recently reported that the Arg-Gly-Gly repeat (RGG) of the C-terminus in Ewing's sarcoma protein (EWS), which is a group of dominant oncogenes that arise due to chromosomal translocations, is capable of binding to G-quadruplex telomere DNA and RNA via arginine residues and stabilize the G-quadruplex DNA form in vitro. Here, we show that the RGG of EWS binds preferentially to G-quadruplexes with longer loops, which is not related to the topology of the G-quadruplex structure. Moreover, the G-quadruplex DNA binding of the RGG in EWS depends on the phosphate backbone of the loops in the G-quadruplex DNA. We also investigated the G-quadruplex DNA binding activity of the N- and C-terminally truncated RGG to assess the role of the regions in the RGG in G-quadruplex DNA binding. Our findings indicate that the RGG and the other arginine-rich motif of residues 617-656 of the RGG in EWS are important for the specific binding to G-quadruplex DNA. These findings will contribute to the development of molecules that selectively target different G-quadruplex DNA.

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