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G-quadruplexes are non canonical secondary structures held together by Hoogsteen bonded planar guanine quartets formed in G-rich sequences in DNA and RNA. Considerable research over the past three decades has contributed to a great deal of understanding of these unusual structures in DNA. Various factors governing the stability of DNA quadruplexes coupled with their in vivo existence have been well documented. RNA has emerged as a key regulatory player in the functioning of the cell shifting the focus to RNA G-quadruplexes which were discovered recently. RNA G-quadruplexes demonstrate immense potential for in vivo existence and function due to their inherent chemistry. We have highlighted the major findings of the field and compared them to structural aspects of DNA quadruplexes. Further, the plausible functions of RNA G-quadruplexes such as translational suppression, splicing etc. are discussed in brief, suggesting scope for an extensive role of these structures in biological systems. As the field is growing, we endeavor to review the current knowledge and evaluate the various attributes of RNA G- quadruplex structure, stability, function and applications. We have also attempted to evaluate the physical and physiological role and relevance of these motifs.


Tani Agarwal, Gopal Jayaraj, Satya Prakash Pandey, Prachi Agarwala, Souvik Maiti. RNA G-quadruplexes: G-quadruplexes with "U" turns. Current pharmaceutical design. 2012;18(14):2102-11

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PMID: 22376111

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