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Special Issue "G-quadruplex and Microorganisms"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemical Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Sara N. Richter

Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: G-quadruplex; nucleic acids conformation; G-quadruplex ligands; aptamers; microorganisms; viruses; bacteria; protozoa; infections; anti-infective agents

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

G-quadruplexes (G4s) are nucleic acid secondary structures that form in DNA or RNA guanine (G)-rich strands. Four G residues are connected through Hoogsteen-type hydrogen bonds, forming a G-tetrad and two or more G-tetrads can stack on top of each other forming the G4, which is stabilized by coordinating monovalent cations, such as K+.

G4s have been extensively described in the human genome, especially in telomeres and oncogene promoters, where their involvement in the regulation of different biological pathways such as replication, transcription, translation and genome instability has been suggested. In addition to humans, putative G4-forming sequences have been found in other mammalian genomes, plants, yeasts, protozoa, bacteria and viruses. In particular, in the recent years, the presence of G4s in microorganisms has attracted increasing interest. In prokaryotes G4 sequences have been found in several human pathogens and bacterial species present in the environment. Bacterial enzymes able to process G4s have also been identified. In viruses, G4s are involved in key steps of the viral life cycle: they been associated with pathogenic mechanisms of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the human papilloma, Zika, Ebola, hepatitis C virus and several other virus genomes. G4 binding proteins and mRNA G4s have been implicated in the regulation of the viral genome replication and translation. G4 ligands have been developed and tested both as tools to study the complexity of G4-mediated mechanisms in the viral life cycle, and as therapeutic agents. Moreover, oligonucleotides that fold into G4 have been found to be active against several microorganisms. This Special Issue will focus on G4s involved in microorganisms addressing all the above aspects.

Prof. Sara N. Richter
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • G-quadruplex
  • viruses
  • bacteria
  • protozoa
  • microorganisms
  • aptamers
  • G-quadruplex ligands
  • infections
  • anti-infective agents
  • nucleic acids conformation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Quantitative PLA for evaluating the capacity of G4 ligands to disrupt the Epstein-Barr Nuclear Antigen 1 G4 mRNA/Nucleolin interaction
Rodrigo Prado Martins, Sarah Findakly, Chrysoula Daskalogianni, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Marc Blondel and Robin Fåhraeus
Targeting of specific protein-RNA interactions for therapeutic developments is still poorly developed. Studies and manipulation of these interactions are technically challenging and in vitro drug screening assays are often hampered due to the complexity of RNA structures. The binding of the host cell nucleolin (NCL) to a G-quadruplex (G4) structure in the messenger RNA (mRNA) of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded EBNA1 has emerged as an interesting therapeutic target for interfering with EBV immune evasion and thus unveiling EBV-associated cancers to the immune system. Using the nucleolin (NCL)-EBNA1 mRNA interaction as a model, we describe a quantitative proximity ligation assay (PLA)-based in cellulo approach to determine the structure activity relationship of small chemical G4 ligands. We show how different G4 ligands have different effects on NCL binding to the EBNA1 mRNA, highlighting the importance of in cellulo screening assays for targeting RNA structure-dependent interactions.

Title: Visual detection of genetic modified food based on G-quadruplex and molecular target amplification
Author: Zhanmin Liu
Affiliation: School of Life Sciences, Shanghai University

Article Type: Review
Title: Parasitic protozoa: unusual roles for G-quadruplexes in early-diverging eukaryotes
Author: Catherine J. Merrick, Franck Dumetz
Affiliation: Pathology Department, Cambridge University

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