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Parasitic Protozoa: Unusual Roles for G-Quadruplexes in Early-Diverging Eukaryotes

Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK
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Academic Editor: Sara N. Richter
Molecules 2019, 24(7), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071339
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 5 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue G-quadruplex and Microorganisms)
Guanine-quadruplex (G4) motifs, at both the DNA and RNA levels, have assumed an important place in our understanding of the biology of eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses. However, it is generally little known that their very first description, as well as the foundational work on G4s, was performed on protozoans: unicellular life forms that are often parasitic. In this review, we provide a historical perspective on the discovery of G4s, intertwined with their biological significance across the protozoan kingdom. This is a history in three parts: first, a period of discovery including the first characterisation of a G4 motif at the DNA level in ciliates (environmental protozoa); second, a period less dense in publications concerning protozoa, during which DNA G4s were discovered in both humans and viruses; and third, a period of renewed interest in protozoa, including more mechanistic work in ciliates but also in pathogenic protozoa. This last period has opened an exciting prospect of finding new anti-parasitic drugs to interfere with parasite biology, thus adding new compounds to the therapeutic arsenal. View Full-Text
Keywords: G-quadruplex; G4; protozoa G-quadruplex; G4; protozoa
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Dumetz, F.; Merrick, C.J. Parasitic Protozoa: Unusual Roles for G-Quadruplexes in Early-Diverging Eukaryotes. Molecules 2019, 24, 1339.

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