Recent investigations on the G-quadruplex motif propose a new strategy for the making of antitumour drugs. Quadruplex-drug complexes have been suggested to inhibit telomerase activity; further, aptamers based on the quadruplex motif have been proved useful as tools aimed at binding and inhibiting particular proteins, thus serving as pharmaceutically active agents. However, the design of new aptamers is difficult because many factors affecting their activity and stability have not still been clarified. The knowledge of the energetics of quadruplex formation is a crucial point in view of their potential therapeutic utilization both as targets as well as therapeutic agents. In this review the energetic aspects of both quadruplex assembly and quadruplex-ligand interactions are discussed together with a summary of recent studies on physico-chemical properties in solution of quadruplex structures obtained from synthetic aptamers, including PNA-DNA chimeras.
Keywords: g-quadruplex, telomeric DNA, aptamer, thermodynamics, kinetics, anticancer therapy, pna-dna chimeras, modified nucleotides
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