Quadruplex Nucleic Acids pp 111-177

Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 330)

Visualizing the Quadruplex: From Fluorescent Ligands to Light-Up Probes

  • Eric Largy
  • Anton Granzhan
  • Florian Hamon
  • Daniela Verga
  • Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou


Detection of quadruplex structures by visual methods is a major challenge of the quadruplex nucleic acid research area. Consequently, considerable efforts are under way for the discovery of quadruplex specific agents endowed with fluorescence properties. In this review chapter we propose a comprehensive and critical overview of the diverse molecular design and strategies that have been described to identify quadruplex-selective fluorescent probes. Innovative compounds as well as classical DNA dyes are reviewed. The compounds have been divided into three classes: (1) “light-up” probes that display a strong enhancement upon G4 binding, (2) “light-off” probes that display a decreased fluorescence upon binding, and (3) permanent probes (“tagged” G4-binders) that exhibit no variation of fluorescence but display quadruplex binding specificity. The labeling performances of probes in various analytical contexts (in solution, in gel, at the level of chromosomes, and in fixed cells) are also reported and commented on when available. Finally we address the strengths and weaknesses of each probe class and highlight the critical features that must be addressed in developing a practicable quadruplex-specific labeling agent.


Fluorescence Fluorescent probes Nucleic acids Quadruplex DNA 



Aggregation-induced emission


Circular dichroism

ct DNA

Calf thymus DNA

ds DNA

Double-stranded DNA


Excited-state intramolecular proton transfer


Fluorescent intercalator displacement


Förster resonance energy transfer


Quadruplex DNA


Isothermal titration calorimetry


Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


Peptide nucleic acid

ss DNA

Single-stranded DNA


Surface plasmon resonance


Thrombin-binding aptamer


Thiazole orange




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Largy
    • 1
  • Anton Granzhan
    • 1
  • Florian Hamon
    • 1
  • Daniela Verga
    • 1
  • Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou
    • 1
  1. 1.UMR 176 CNRS “Synthèse, Conception et Vectorisation de Biomolécules”, Institut Curie, Centre de RechercheOrsayFrance

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