Pyrene excimer fluorescence as a probe for parallel G-quadruplex formation

Huihe Zhu, Frederick D. Lewis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The formation and properties of G-quadruplex structures from short single-strand oligonucleotide conjugates possessing two to four guanines and a 5′-terminal pyrenebutanol are reported. The 4-G conjugate forms a stable G-quadruplex under low or high potassium ion concentrations, whereas the 3-G conjugate forms a stable G-quadruplex only in the presence of high potassium. The 2-G conjugate fails to form a stable G-quadruplex even at low temperature and high potassium concentration. Both pyrene monomer and excimer fluorescence are observed for the G-quadruplex structures, whereas only monomer fluorescence is observed for the single-strand conjugates. Thus, pyrene excimer fluorescence can be used as a probe for the formation of G-quadruplex structures. The excimer/monomer intensity ratios for the G-quadruplex structures are dependent upon both the temperature and potassium or lithium salt concentration. The salt effect is attributed to a change in the structure of the hydrophobic pyrene chromophores, which are assembled on the 5′-face of the G-quadruplex as a consequence of electrostriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1217
Number of pages5
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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