G-quadruplex formation in cells has been studied in the past and this latest paper is not the first to show the existence of these structures in cells. As early as the 1960s researchers noticed that G-rich sequences form structures considerably different from other nucleic acids[/quote], although it wasn't until the late 1980s that researchers were able to define the G-quadrupex structures exactly. Of course, evidence for these structures only existed in biochemical experiments done outside of the cell. In the 2000s, however, researchers used the same strategy reported here (generating fluorescent antibodies against g-quadruplex structures) to directly image the presence of g-quadruplexes in cells (Schaffitzel et al. (2001) In vitro generated antibodies specific for telomeric guanine-quadruplex DNA react with Stylonychia lemnae macronuclei. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98: 8572. doi:10.1073/pnas.141229498
). A number of other studies have provided indirect evidence for the existence of these structures as well.
The newest study in Nature Chemistry
improves on the earlier methods, and the authors generate a better antibody capable of directly imaging the g-quadruplex structures in mamalian cells (which had not been accomplished before). This study helps to confirm the previous findings (which are still somewhat controversial), and provides a useful tool for studying how these g-quadruplex structures function inside the cell.