Crosstalk between G-quadruplex and ROS

Cell Death Dis. 2023 Jan 18;14(1):37. doi: 10.1038/s41419-023-05562-0.


The excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can lead to single nucleic acid base damage, DNA strand breakage, inter- and intra-strand cross-linking of nucleic acids, and protein-DNA cross-linking involved in the pathogenesis of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging. G-quadruplex (G4) is a stacked nucleic acid structure that is ubiquitous across regulatory regions of multiple genes. Abnormal formation and destruction of G4s due to multiple factors, including cations, helicases, transcription factors (TFs), G4-binding proteins, and epigenetic modifications, affect gene replication, transcription, translation, and epigenetic regulation. Due to the lower redox potential of G-rich sequences and unique structural characteristics, G4s are highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Additionally, the formation, stability, and biological regulatory role of G4s are affected by ROS. G4s are involved in regulating gene transcription, translation, and telomere length maintenance, and are therefore key players in age-related degeneration. Furthermore, G4s also mediate the antioxidant process by forming stress granules and activating Nrf2, which is suggestive of their involvement in developing ROS-related diseases. In this review, we have summarized the crosstalk between ROS and G4s, and the possible regulatory mechanisms through which G4s play roles in aging and age-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • G-Quadruplexes*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • DNA