We have investigated the structures formed by oligonucleotides composed of two or four repeats of the telomeric sequences from Oxytricha and Tetrahymena. The Oxytricha four-repeat molecule (d(T4G4)4 = Oxy-4) forms structures with increased electrophoretic mobility in nondenaturing gels containing Na+, K+, or Cs+, but not in gels containing Li+ or no added salt. Formation of the folded structure results in protection of a set of dG's from methylation by dimethyl sulfate. Efficient UV-induced cross-links are observed in Oxy-4 and the related sequence from Tetrahymena (d(T2G4)4 = Tet-4), and join thymidine residues in different repeats. Models proposed to account for these data involve G-quartets, hydrogen-bonded structures formed from four guanosine residues in a square-planar array. We propose that the G-quartet structure must be dealt with in vivo by the telomere replication machinery.