Biophysical Reviews

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 383–387 | Cite as

Z-DNA in the genome: from structure to disease

  • Subramaniyam Ravichandran
  • Vinod Kumar Subramani
  • Kyeong Kyu KimEmail author


The scope of studies investigating the architecture of genomic DNA has progressed steadily since the elucidation of the structure of B-DNA. In recent years, several non-canonical DNA structures including Z-DNA, G-quadruplexes, H-DNA, cruciform DNA, and i-motifs have been reported to form in genomic DNA and are closely related to the evolution and development of disease. The ability of these structures to form in genomic DNA indicates that they might have important cellular roles and are therefore retained during evolution. Understanding the impact of the formation of these secondary structures on cellular processes can enable identification of new targets for therapeutics. In this review, we report the state of understanding of Z-DNA structure and formation and their implication in disease. Finally, we state our perspective on the potential of Z-DNA as a therapeutic target.


Z-DNA Disease Z-DNA-binding protein Therapeutic target Transcription 



This work was supported by the Samsung Science & Technology Foundation (SSTF-BA1301-01).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Subramaniyam Ravichandran declares that he has no conflict of interest. Vinod Kumar Subramani declares that he has no conflict of interest. Kyeong Kyu Kim declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and TherapeuticsSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSuwonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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