Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

DNA replication

Driving past four-stranded snags

Unusual DNA structures, such as G-quadruplexes, can stall DNA replication with drastic consequences for the cell. The Pif1 helicase family of enzymes has evolved to disentangle these structures efficiently. See Article p.458

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The problem at G-quadruplexes.


  1. *This article and the paper under discussion1 were published online on 8 May 2013.


  1. Paeschke, K. et al. Nature 497, 458–462 (2013).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Mirkin, E. V. & Mirkin, S. M. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 71, 13–35 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Lopes, J. et al. EMBO J. 30, 4033–4046 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Biffi, G., Tannahill, D., McCafferty, J. & Balasubramanian, S. Nature Chem. 5, 182–186 (2013).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Wold, M. S. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 66, 61–92 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Woodford, K. J., Howell, R. M. & Usdin, K. J. Biol. Chem. 269, 27029–27035 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Anand, R. P. et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 40, 1091–1105 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bochman, M. L., Sabouri, N. & Zakian, V. A. DNA Repair 9, 237–249 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ribeyre, C. et al. PLoS Genet. 5, e1000475 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ivessa, A. S. et al. Mol. Cell 12, 1525–1536 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Perrod, S. & Gasser, S. M. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 60, 2303–2318 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Maizels, N. & Gray, L. T. PLoS Genet. 9, e1003468 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sergei M. Mirkin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mirkin, S. Driving past four-stranded snags. Nature 497, 449–450 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing