Guanine quadruplex structures (GQSs) exhibit unique spectroscopic features, including an inverse melting profile at 295 nm, distinctive circular dichroism features, and intrinsic fluorescence. Herein, we investigate effects of loop sequence and loop length on the intrinsic fluorescence of 13 DNA GQSs. We report label-free fluorescence enhancements upon intramolecular GQS formation of up to 16-fold and a shift in the emission maximum to the visible portion of the spectrum. Effects can be understood in the context of available nuclear magnetic resonance GQS structures. The intrinsic fluorescence of GQSs may be useful for nucleic acid studies and for the development of label-free detection methods.
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