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FEBS Lett. 2003 Nov 20;554(3):455-61.

Identification of HMG-5 as a double-stranded telomeric DNA-binding protein in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

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National Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, Yonsei University, 134 Shinchon, Seodaemun-ku, Seoul 120-749, South Korea.


Many protein components of telomeres, the multifunctional DNA-protein complexes at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, have been identified in diverse species ranging from yeast to humans. In Caenorhabditis elegans, CEH-37 has been identified by a yeast one hybrid screen to be a double-stranded telomere-binding protein. However, the role of CEH-37 in telomere function is unclear because a deletion mutation in this gene does not cause severe telomere defects. This observation raises the possibility of the presence of genetic redundancy. To identify additional double-stranded telomere-binding proteins in C. elegans, we used a different approach, namely, a proteomic approach. Affinity chromatography followed by Finnigan LCQ ion trap mass spectrometer analysis allowed us to identify several candidate proteins. We further characterized one of these, HMG-5, which is encoded by F45E4.9. HMG-5 bound to double-stranded telomere in vitro as shown by competition assays. At least two telomeric DNA repeats were needed for this binding. HMG-5 was expressed in the nuclei of the oocytes and all embryonic cells, but not in the hatched larvae or adults. HMG-5 mainly localized to the chromosomal ends, indicating that HMG-5 also binds to telomeres in vivo. These observations suggest that HMG-5 may participate, together with CEH-37, in early embryogenesis by acting at the telomeres.

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