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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Aug 20;130(33):11179-84. doi: 10.1021/ja8031532. Epub 2008 Jul 19.

G-quadruplex formation by human telomeric repeats-containing RNA in Na+ solution.

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Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan.


For a long time, telomeres have been considered to be transcriptionally silent. Very recently, a breaking finding from two groups demonstrated that telomere DNA is transcribed into telomeric repeat-containing RNA in mammalian cells (Azzalin, C. M.; Reichenbach, P.; Khoriauli, L.; Giulotto, E.; Lingner, J. Science 2007, 318, 798-801. Schoefter, S.; Blasco, M. A. Nat. Cell Biol. 2008, 10, 228-236). The telomeric RNA, a newly appeared player in telomere biology, may be a key component of telomere machinery. In the current study, we used a combination of NMR, circular dichroism (CD), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS), and gel electrophoresis to investigate the structural features of a human telomere RNA sequence. We demonstrated that human telomere RNA can form a parallel G-quadruplex structure in the presence of Na(+). Importantly, we found for the first time that the G-quadruplex forming telomere RNA protects itself from enzymatic digestion. These results provide valuable information to allow understanding of the structure and function of human telomeric RNA.

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