DNA is considered an important target for drug design and development. Until recently, the focus was on double-stranded (duplex) DNA structures. However, it has now been shown that single stranded DNA can fold into hairpin, triplex, i-motif and G-quadruplex structures. The more interesting G-quadruplex DNA structures comprise four strands of stacked guanine (G)-tetrads formed by the coplanar arrangement of four guanines, held together by Hoogsteen bonds. The DNA sequences with potential to form G-quadruplex structures are found at the chromosomal extremities (i.e. the telomeres) and also at the intra-chromosomal region (i.e. oncogenic promoters) in several important oncogenes. The formation of G-quadruplex structures is considered to have important consequences at the cellular level and such structures have been evoked in the control of expression of certain genes involved in carcinogenesis (c-myc, c-kit, K-ras etc.) as well as in the perturbation of telomeric organization. It has been shown that the formation of quadruplexes inhibits the telomere extension by the telomerase enzyme, which is up-regulated in cancer cells. Therefore, G-quadruplex structures are an important target for drug design and development and there is a huge interest in design and development of small molecules (ligands) to target these structures. A large number of so-called G-quadruplex ligands, displaying varying degrees of affinity and more importantly selectivity (i.e. the ability to interact only with quadruplex-DNA and not duplex-DNA), have been reported. Access to efficient and robust in vitro assays is needed to effectively monitor and quantify the G-quadruplex DNA/ligand interactions. This tutorial review provides an overview of G-quadruplex ligands and biophysical techniques available to monitor such interactions.
You have access to this article
Please wait while we load your content...
Something went wrong. Try again?