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Nat Chem. 2013 Mar;5(3):182-6. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1548. Epub 2013 Jan 20.

Quantitative visualization of DNA G-quadruplex structures in human cells.

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Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0RE, UK.


Four-stranded G-quadruplex nucleic acid structures are of great interest as their high thermodynamic stability under near-physiological conditions suggests that they could form in cells. Here we report the generation and application of an engineered, structure-specific antibody employed to quantitatively visualize DNA G-quadruplex structures in human cells. We show explicitly that G-quadruplex formation in DNA is modulated during cell-cycle progression and that endogenous G-quadruplex DNA structures can be stabilized by a small-molecule ligand. Together these findings provide substantive evidence for the formation of G-quadruplex structures in the genome of mammalian cells and corroborate the application of stabilizing ligands in a cellular context to target G-quadruplexes and intervene with their function.

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