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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Nov;60(11):2283-94.

Protecting the terminus: t-loops and telomere end-binding proteins.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267, USA.


Telomeric DNA is composed of a region of duplex telomeric tract followed by a single-strand overhang on the 3' G-rich strand. The DNA is packaged by proteins that associate directly with the single- and double-strand regions of the telomeric tract and by their associated proteins. This review discusses the evidence that G-strand overhangs are present on both ends of eukaryotic chromosomes and the steps needed to generate these overhangs. The overhangs are protected by specialized G-overhang-binding protein and/or invasion by the overhang of the duplex region of the telomeric tract to form a structure called a 't-loop'. The G-overhang-binding proteins identified from different species are described, and their properties compared. The data supporting the existence of t-loops at native telomeres is discussed, and the conditions required to promote their in vitro formation are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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