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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Nov;22(22):8079-87.

Human Pot1 (protection of telomeres) protein: cytolocalization, gene structure, and alternative splicing.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0215, USA.


Fission yeast Pot1 (protection of telomeres) is a single-stranded telomeric DNA binding protein with a critical role in ensuring chromosome stability. A putative human homolog (hPot1) was previously identified, based on moderate sequence similarity with fission yeast Pot1 and telomere end-binding proteins from ciliated protozoa. Using indirect immunofluorescence, we show here that epitope-tagged hPot1 localizes to telomeres in interphase nuclei of human cells, consistent with a direct role in telomere end protection. The hPOT1 gene contains 22 exons, most of which are present in all cDNAs examined. However, four exons are subject to exon skipping in some transcripts, giving rise to five splice variants. Four of these are ubiquitously expressed, whereas the fifth appears to be specific to leukocytes. The resultant proteins vary significantly in their ability to form complexes with single-stranded telomeric DNA as judged by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. In addition to these splice variants, the Pot1 family is expanded by the identification of six more genes from diverse species. Pot1-like proteins have now been found in plants, animals, yeasts, and microsporidia.

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