S Müller, S Kumari, R Rodriguez, S Balasubramanian
Nucleic acids containing stretches of tandem guanines can fold into four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes. The existence of such sequences in genomic DNA suggests the occurrence of these motifs in cells, with potential implications in a number of biological processes relevant to cancer. Small molecules have proven to be valuable tools to dissect cell circuitry. Here, we describe a synthetic small molecule derived from an N,N'-bis(2-quinolinyl)pyridine-2,6-dicarboxamide, which is designed to mediate the selective isolation of G-quadruplex nucleic acids. The methodology was successfully applied to a range of DNA and RNA G-quadruplexes in vitro. We demonstrate the general applicability of the method by isolating telomeric DNA-containing G-quadruplex motifs from cells. We show that telomeres are targets for the probe, providing further evidence of the formation of G-quadruplexes in human cells.