Identification and immunohistochemical characterization of G-quadruplexes in mouse brain

Sefan Asamitsu, Yoshiki Imai, Yasushi Yabuki, Susumu Ikenoshita, Masayuki Takeuchi, Hirohito Kashiwagi, Yuki Tanoue, Takaichi Fukuda, Norifumi Shioda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Guanine-rich DNA and RNA can form a four-stranded structure, termed G-quadruplexes (G4s) in vitro as well as in cells. The formation of G4 is implicated in many physiological events, such as gene transcription, translation, and epigenetics. However, the presence of G4 has not been revealed in the brain. Here, we demonstrate the localization of G4 in the mouse brain by immunohistochemical analysis. In cultured mouse forebrain neurons, numerous punctate G4 foci were observed in nuclei as well as in cytoplasmic areas, including axons, dendrites, and postsynapses. Interestingly, the G4 foci in nuclei show more marked co-localizations with the bright spots of DAPI-positive heterochromatin clusters in mature neurons compared to immature ones. In slices from adult mouse brain, the G4 foci were distributed throughout the brain but were particularly prominent in the hippocampus, olfactory bulb, and cerebellum. In the hippocampus, G4 foci were strongly expressed in neurons and weakly in astrocytes. Consistent with the results in cultured neurons, the nuclear G4 foci were co-localized with heterochromatin in calbindin-positive mature granule cells but less in doublecortin-positive neuronal progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus. Electron microscopic immunolabeling revealed G4 foci on nucleolus-associated chromosomal domains (NADs) and cytoplasm in the adult mouse hippocampal CA1 region. These observations suggest potentially critical roles of G4 in neuronal developmental stages through regulating chromatin structures and cytoplasmic metabolism of RNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 8


  • G-quadruplex
  • Heterochromatin
  • Neurobiology
  • Nucleolus-associated chromosomal domains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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