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Cell. 1985 Jun;41(2):541-51.

A high affinity topoisomerase I binding sequence is clustered at DNAase I hypersensitive sites in Tetrahymena R-chromatin.


Topoisomerase I is associated with DNAase I hypersensitive sites in the nontranscribed spacers flanking the rRNA genes in Tetrahymena thermophila. The endogenous topoisomerase I introduces site and strand specific single-strand cleavages in the rDNA spacers in situ. The cleavages occur base specifically within a hexadecameric sequence element present in two or three direct repeats at the hypersensitive sites. The sequence specificity and polarity of the cleavage reaction are identical when the enzyme is reacted with naked rDNA, indicating that the repetitive element functions as a high-affinity topoisomerase I attraction site in the r-chromatin. The biological mechanism associated with this phenomenon appears to be widespread among eukaryotes, since the topoisomerase I recognition sequence is conserved in the rDNA spacers of phylogenetically remote organisms, such as fungi, slime molds, ciliates, and insects.

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