A study on binding of antitumor chelerythrine to human telomeric DNA/RNA G-quadruplexes was performed by using DNA polymerase stop assay, UV-melting, ESI-TOF-MS, UV-Vis absorption spectrophotometry and fluorescent triazole orange displacement assay. Chelerythrine selectively binds to and stabilizes the K(+)-form hybrid-type human telomeric DNA G-quadruplex of biological significance, compared with the Na(+)-form antiparallel-type DNA G-quadruplex. ESI-TOF-MS study showed that chelerythrine possesses a binding strength for DNA G-quadruplex comparable to that of TMPyP4 tetrachloride. Both 1:1 and 2:1 stoichiometries were observed for chelerythrine's binding with DNA and RNA G-quadruplexes. The binding strength of chelerythrine with RNA G-quadruplex is stronger than that with DNA G-quadruplex. Fluorescent triazole orange displacement assay revealed that chelerythrine interacts with human telomeric RNA/DNA G-quadruplexes by the mode of end- stacking. The relative binding strength of chelerythrine for human telomeric RNA and DNA G-quadruplexes obtained from ESI-TOF-MS experiments are respectively 6.0- and 2.5-fold tighter than that with human telomeric double-stranded hairpin DNA. The binding selectivity of chelerythrine for the biologically significant K(+)-form human telomeric DNA G-quadruplex over the Na(+)-form analogue, and binding specificity for human telomeric RNA G-quadruplex established it as a promising candidate in the structure-based design and development of G-quadruplex specific ligands.