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Nature. 1988 Jul 28;334(6180):364-6.

Formation of parallel four-stranded complexes by guanine-rich motifs in DNA and its implications for meiosis.

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Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.


We have discovered that single-stranded DNA containing short guanine-rich motifs will self-associate at physiological salt concentrations to make four-stranded structures in which the strands run in parallel fashion. We believe these complexes are held together by guanines bonded to each other by Hoogsteen pairing. Such guanine-rich sequences occur in immunoglobulin switch regions, in gene promoters, and in chromosomal telomeres. We speculate that this self-recognition of guanine-rich motifs of DNA serves to bring together, and to zipper up in register, the four homologous chromatids during meiosis.

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