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

Nature. 1988 Jul 28;334(6180):364-6. doi: 10.1038/334364a0.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / analysis*
  • Guanine / metabolism*
  • Meiosis*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • Guanine