G-quadruplexes: from guanine gels to chemotherapeutics

Methods Mol Biol. 2010:608:1-16. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-363-9_1.


G-quartets are square planar arrangements of four guanine bases, which can form extraordinarily stable stacks when present in nucleic acid sequences. Such G-quadruplex structures were long regarded as an in vitro phenomenon, but the widespread presence of suitable sequences in genomes and the identification of proteins that stabilize, modify, or resolve these nucleic acid structures have provided circumstantial evidence for their physiological relevance. The therapeutic potential of small molecules that can stabilize or disrupt G-quadruplex structures has invigorated the field in recent years. Here we review some of the key observations that support biological functions for G-quadruplex DNA as well as the techniques and tools that have enabled researchers to probe these structures and their interactions with proteins and small molecules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Neoplasm / chemistry*
  • G-Quadruplexes*
  • Guanine / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Guanine