Above and beyond Watson and Crick: Guanine Quadruplex Structures and Microbes

H. Steven Seifert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Advances in understanding mechanisms of nucleic acids have revolutionized molecular biology and medicine, but understanding of nontraditional nucleic acid conformations is less developed. The guanine quadruplex (G4) alternative DNA structure was first described in the 1960s, but the existence of G4 structures (G4-S) and their participation in myriads of biological functions are still underappreciated. Despite many tools to study G4s and many examples of roles for G4s in eukaryotic molecular processes and issues with uncontrolled G4-S formation, there is relatively little knowledge about the roles of G4-S in viral or prokaryotic systems. This review summarizes the state of the art with regard to G4-S in eukaryotes and their potential roles in human disease before discussing the evidence that G4-S have equivalent importance in affecting viral and bacterial life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-69
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Microbiology
StatePublished - Sep 8 2018


  • DNA replication
  • bacteria
  • gene expression
  • nucleic acid structures
  • viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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