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Special Issue "Recent Advances in Non-Canonical Nucleic Acid Structures"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081, United States
Website | E-Mail
Interests: G-quadruplex DNA; non-canonical DNA structures, ligands, porphyrins, spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography
Guest Editor
Dr. David Monchaud

Institut de Chimie Moléculaire, ICMUB CNRS UMR6302, UBFC, Dijon, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: DNA/RNA-quadruplexes, smart probes, sequencing, DNA junctions, ligands

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The nucleic acids field is moving at an incredible pace, experiencing an unprecedented paradigm shift away from static, carved-in-stone concepts, e.g., the double helix of DNA is a complex database of genetic information waiting to be scanned according to the cellular activity (the "book of life"); or the many RNA found in cells, when not transcriptional noise, mostly act as molecular messengers abiding by the laws of the genetic code. In the current far more dynamic view, the cellular functions of both DNA and RNA rely not only on their sequences but also, and above all, on their tertiary structures, which are diverse (two-, three-, four-stranded architectures), dynamic (moulded by chaperone proteins, unfolded by resolving enzymes), and involved in intricate cellular regulation networks (with a remarkably broad spectrum of biological processes, from gene expression to genome maintenance). In this Special Issue, we wish to provide a snapshot of the current state of the field, focusing on the structural characterization of DNA, RNA, and DNA/RNA non-canonical structures (e.g., G-quadruplexes, i-motifs, three-way DNA junctions), novel methodologies to assess their existence and functional relevance in human cells (e.g., next generation sequencing, optical detection methods), as well as the strategies implemented to gain control over the key cellular events controlled by the non-canonical nucleic acid structures using ever more accurate and versatile molecular tools.

Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk
Dr. David Monchaud
Guest Editors

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 semimonthly 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.


  • Non-canonical DNA/RNA structures (G-quadruplex, i-motif, triplex, three-way junctions)
  • Structural characterization (e.g. NMR, X-ray crystallographic analyses)
  • Biophysics/biochemical investigations (e.g., FRET, CD, PAGE, fluorescence analyses)
  • Cell biology (e.g., genetic regulatory networks, transcription/translation controls)
  • Non-canonical nucleic acid-binding partners (e.g., small-molecule ligands, proteins)
  • Bioinformatics, next-generation sequencing, genome-/transcriptome-wide analyses

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Small Molecules on Intermolecular G-Quadruplex Formation
Molecules 2019, 24(8), 1570; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081570
Received: 9 February 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
PDF Full-text (1245 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
We performed single molecule studies to investigate the impact of several prominent small molecules (the oxazole telomestatin derivative L2H2-6OTD, pyridostatin, and Phen-DC3) on intermolecular G-quadruplex (i-GQ) formation between two guanine-rich DNA strands that had 3-GGG repeats in one strand and 1-GGG [...] Read more.
We performed single molecule studies to investigate the impact of several prominent small molecules (the oxazole telomestatin derivative L2H2-6OTD, pyridostatin, and Phen-DC3) on intermolecular G-quadruplex (i-GQ) formation between two guanine-rich DNA strands that had 3-GGG repeats in one strand and 1-GGG repeat in the other (3+1 GGG), or 2-GGG repeats in each strand (2+2 GGG). Such structures are not only physiologically significant but have recently found use in various biotechnology applications, ranging from DNA-based wires to chemical sensors. Understanding the extent of stability imparted by small molecules on i-GQ structures, has implications for these applications. The small molecules resulted in different levels of enhancement in i-GQ formation, depending on the small molecule and arrangement of GGG repeats. The largest enhancement we observed was in the 3+1 GGG arrangement, where i-GQ formation increased by an order of magnitude, in the presence of L2H2-6OTD. On the other hand, the enhancement was limited to three-fold with Pyridostatin (PDS) or less for the other small molecules in the 2+2 GGG repeat case. By demonstrating detection of i-GQ formation at the single molecule level, our studies illustrate the feasibility to develop more sensitive sensors that could operate with limited quantities of materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Non-Canonical Nucleic Acid Structures)

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