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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Sep 19;46(16):8038-8056. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky735.

i-Motif DNA: structural features and significance to cell biology.

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Department of Chemistry, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0B8, Canada.
Instituto de Química Física 'Rocasolano', CSIC, C/Serrano 119, 28006 Madrid, Spain.


The i-motif represents a paradigmatic example of the wide structural versatility of nucleic acids. In remarkable contrast to duplex DNA, i-motifs are four-stranded DNA structures held together by hemi- protonated and intercalated cytosine base pairs (C:C+). First observed 25 years ago, and considered by many as a mere structural oddity, interest in and discussion on the biological role of i-motifs have grown dramatically in recent years. In this review we focus on structural aspects of i-motif formation, the factors leading to its stabilization and recent studies describing the possible role of i-motifs in fundamental biological processes.

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