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Nat Genet. 1997 Nov;17(3):298-304.

Trinucleotide repeats affect DNA replication in vivo.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago 60607, USA.


(CGG)n.(CCG)n and (CTG)n.(CAG)n repeats of varying length were cloned into a bacterial plasmid, and the progression of the replication fork through these repeats was followed using electrophoretic analysis of replication intermediates. We observed stalling of the replication fork within repeated DNAs and found that this effect depends on repeat length, repeat orientation relative to the replication origin and the status of protein synthesis in a cell. Interruptions within repeated DNAs, similar to those observed in human genes, abolished the replication blockage. Our results suggest that the formation of unusual DNA structures by trinucleotide repeats in the lagging-strand template may account for the observed replication blockage and have relevance to repeat expansion in humans.

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