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Cell. 1991 Nov 15;67(4):807-14.

Cloning and expression of genes for the Oxytricha telomere-binding protein: specific subunit interactions in the telomeric complex.

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


Telomeres of Oxytricha nova macronuclear chromosomes consist of a repeated T4G4 sequence, single-stranded at the 3' terminus, bound by a heterodimeric protein. The cloning of genes for the two polypeptides and their separate expression in E. coli have enabled evaluation of their individual contributions to DNA binding. The 56 kd alpha subunit binds single-stranded DNA by itself, one polypeptide per T4G4 block; multiple subunits can coat a (T4G4)n multimer. The derived amino acid sequence of alpha does not reveal any known DNA-binding motif, so it appears to represent a novel type of DNA-binding protein. The previously cloned 41 kd beta subunit does not by itself protect DNA from methylation, but is required along with alpha to recreate the pattern of methylation protection indicative of telomeres in vivo. The unusual ability of the protein to engage in two different interactions with the same telomeric DNA sequence might provide the versatility necessary for diverse telomere functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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