Cruciform DNA

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cruciform DNA is a secondary structure on a helical double-stranded DNA molecule that comprises a four-way junction and two closed hairpin-shaped points. Double-stranded inverted repeats or DNA palindromes have the potential to form cruciform structures by intrastrand base pairing to extrude a pair of stem-loop structures under conditions of negative superhelicity. The junction of the cruciform is equivalent to a Holliday junction, which is a homologous recombination intermediate that is crucial for the maintenance of genomic integrity. Hence, cruciform DNA structures are recognized by several structure-specific enzymes, such as Holliday junction resolvases. Although cruciform formation in vivo remains to be validated, it is speculated that the formation of these unusual structures may fulfill a vital biological role or possibly induce genomic instabilities leading to deletions or chromosomal translocations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780080961569
ISBN (Print)9780123749840
Publication statusPublished - 27-02-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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