DNA oligonucleotides that have repetitive tracts of guanine bases can form G-quadruplex structures that display an amazing polymorphism. Structures of several new G-quadruplexes have been solved recently that greatly expand the known structural motifs observed in nucleic acid quadruplexes. Base triads, base hexads, and quartets that contain cytosine have recently been identified stacked over the familiar G-quartets. The current status of the diverse array of structural features in quadruplexes is described and used to provide insight into the polymorphism and folding pathways. This review also summarizes recent progress in the techniques used to probe the structures of G-quadruplexes and discusses the role of ion binding in quadruplex formation. Several of the quadruplex structures featured in this review can be accessed in the online version of this review as CHIME representations.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Biopolymers (Nucleic Acid sci) 56: 123-146, 2001