G-Quadruplexes as pathogenic drivers in neurodegenerative disorders

Ernest Wang, Ravi Thombre, Yajas Shah, Rachel Latanich, Jiou Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


G-quadruplexes (G4s), higher-order DNA and RNA secondary structures featuring guanine-rich nucleic acid sequences with various conformations, are widely distributed in the human genome. These structural motifs are known to participate in basic cellular processes, including transcription, splicing, and translation, and their functions related to health and disease are becoming increasingly recognized. In this review, we summarize the landscape of G4s involved in major neurodegenerative disorders, describing the genes that contain G4-forming sequences and proteins that have high affinity for G4-containing elements. The functions of G4s are diverse, with potentially protective or deleterious effects in the pathogenic cascades of various neurological diseases. While the studies of the functions of G4s in vivo, including those involved in pathophysiology, are still in their early stages, we will nevertheless discuss the evidence pointing to their biological relevance. A better understanding of this unique structural element in the biological context is important for unveiling its potential roles in the pathogenesis of diseases such as neurodegeneration and for designing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4816-4830
Number of pages15
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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