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Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2012 Jul-Aug;3(4):495-507. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1113. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

G-quadruplexes in RNA biology.

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Inserm UMR 1037, University of Toulouse III, Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, Toulouse 31432, Cedex 4, France.


G-quadruplexes are noncanonical structures formed by G-rich DNA and RNA sequences that fold into a four-stranded conformation. Experimental studies and computational predictions show that RNA G-quadruplexes are present in transcripts associated with telomeres, in noncoding sequences of primary transcripts and within mature transcripts. RNA G-quadruplexes at these specific locations play important roles in key cellular functions, including telomere homeostasis and gene expression. Indeed, RNA G-quadruplexes appear as important regulators of pre-mRNA processing (splicing and polyadenylation), RNA turnover, mRNA targeting and translation. The regulatory mechanisms controlled by RNA G-quadruplexes involve the binding of protein factors that modulate G-quadruplex conformation and/or serve as a bridge to recruit additional protein regulators. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of G-quadruplexes in RNA biology with particular emphasis on the molecular mechanisms underlying their specific function in RNA metabolism occurring in physiological or pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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