G-quadruplexes (G4s) are a set of stable secondary structures that form within guanine-rich regions of single-stranded nucleic acids that pose challenges for DNA maintenance. The G-rich DNA sequence at telomeres has a propensity to form G4s of various topologies. The human protein complexes Replication Protein A (RPA) and CTC1-STN1-TEN1 (CST) are implicated in managing G4s at telomeres, leading to DNA unfolding and allowing telomere replication to proceed. Here, we use fluorescence anisotropy equilibrium binding measurements to determine the ability of these proteins to bind various telomeric G4s. We find that the ability of CST to specifically bind G-rich ssDNA is substantially inhibited by the presence of G4s. In contrast, RPA tightly binds telomeric G4s, showing negligible changes in affinity for G4 structure compared to linear ssDNAs. Using a mutagenesis strategy, we found that RPA DNA-binding domains work together for G4 binding, and simultaneous disruption of these domains reduces the affinity of RPA for G4 ssDNA. The relative inability of CST to disrupt G4s, combined with the greater cellular abundance of RPA, suggests that RPA could act as a primary protein complex responsible for resolving G4s at telomeres.
The CTC1-STN1-TEN1 (CST) complex is essential for telomere maintenance and resolution of stalled replication forks genome-wide. Here, we report the 3.0-angstrom cryo–electron microscopy structure of human CST bound to telomeric single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), which assembles as a decameric supercomplex. The atomic model of the 134-kilodalton CTC1 subunit, built almost entirely de novo, reveals the overall architecture of CST and the DNA-binding anchor site. The carboxyl-terminal domain of STN1 interacts with CTC1 at two separate docking sites, allowing allosteric mediation of CST decamer assembly. Furthermore, ssDNA appears to staple two monomers to nucleate decamer assembly. CTC1 has stronger structural similarity to Replication Protein A than the expected similarity to yeast Cdc13. The decameric structure suggests that CST can organize ssDNA analogously to the nucleosome’s organization of double-stranded DNA.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 1081-1085
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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