Learning to model G-quadruplexes, current methods and perspectives

Ortiz de Luzuriaga, I.; Lopez, X.; Gil, A.* Ann. Rev. Biophys. 2021, 50, 209

G-quadruplexes have raised considerable interest during the past years for the development of therapies against cancer. These noncanonical structures of DNA may be found in telomeres and/or oncogene promoters, and it has been observed that the stabilization of such G-quadruplexes may disturb tumor cell growth. Nevertheless, the mechanisms leading to folding and stabilization of these G-quadruplexes are still not well established, and they are the focus of much current work in this field. In seminal works, stabilization was observed to be produced by cations. However, subsequent studies showed that different kinds of small molecules, from planar and nonplanar organic molecules to square-planar and octahedral metal complexes, may also lead to the stabilization of G-quadruplexes. Thus, the comprehension and rationalization of the interaction of these small molecules with G-quadruplexes are also important topics of current interest in medical applications. To shed light on the questions arising from the literature on the formation of G-quadruplexes, their stabilization, and their interaction with small molecules, synergies between experimental studies and computational works are needed. In this review, we mainly focus on in silico approaches and provide a broad compilation of different leading studies carried out to date by different computational methods. We divide these methods into twomain categories: (a) classical methods, which allow for long-timescale molecular dynamics simulations and the corresponding analysis of dynamical information, and (b) quantum methods (semiempirical, quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics, and density functional theory methods), which allow for the explicit simulation of the electronic structure of the system but, in general, are not capable of being used in long-timescale molecular dynamics simulations and, therefore, give a more static picture of the relevant processes.

Impact factor: