DNA G-quadruplexes are uniquely stable in the presence of denaturants and monovalent cations

Tanner G. Hoog, Matthew R. Pawlak, Benjamin F. Bachan, Aaron E. Engelhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ions in the Hofmeister series exhibit varied effects on biopolymers. Those classed as kosmotropes generally stabilize secondary structure, and those classed as chaotropes generally destabilize secondary structure. Here, we report that several anionic chaotropes exhibit unique effects on one DNA secondary structure - a G quadruplex. These chaotropes exhibit the expected behaviour (destabilization of secondary structure) in two other structural contexts: a DNA duplex and i-Motifs. Uniquely among secondary structures, we observe that G quadruplexes are comparatively insensitive to the presence of anionic chaotropes, but not other denaturants. Further, the presence of equimolar NaCl provided greater mitigation of the destabilization caused by other non-anionic denaturants. These results are consistent with the presence of monovalent cations providing an especially pronounced stabilizing effect to G quadruplexes when studied in denaturing solution conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101238
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NASA Contract 80NSSC18K1139 under the Center for Origin of Life (to A.E.E.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • DNA
  • Denaturant
  • G quadruplex
  • Hofmeister
  • Nucleic acids

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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