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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1995 Jun;5(3):311-22.

Telomere structure and function.

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Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


Telomeres, the termini of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, contain specific DNA sequences that are widely conserved. These sequences not only recruit telomere-specific proteins, but also give telomeric DNA the ability to fold into four-stranded DNA structures. Recent structural studies have shown that the repertoire of quadruplexes formed by the G-rich strand is larger than had been envisaged. Even more surprising is a novel four-stranded structure formed by the C-rich strand, called the i-tetraplex. Genetic and biochemical analyses have been used to identify proteins involved in telomeric DNA packaging and organization. The possibility that four-stranded structures may play a role in telomere function has been strengthened by the discovery that telomeric proteins can bind to and promote the formation of G-quadruplexes.

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