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Title: Vectorial folding of telomere overhang promotes higher accessibility

Human telomere overhang composed of tandem repeats of TTAGGG folds into G-quadruplex (G4). Unlike in an experimental setting in the test tube in which the entire length is allowed to fold at once, inside the cell, the overhang is expected to fold as it is synthesized directionally (5′ to 3′) and released segmentally by a specialized enzyme, the telomerase. To mimic such vectorial G4 folding process, we employed a superhelicase, Rep-X which can unwind DNA to release the TTAGGG repeats in 5′ to 3′ direction. We demonstrate that the folded conformation achieved by the refolding of full sequence is significantly different from that of the vectorial folding for two to eight TTAGGG repeats. Strikingly, the vectorially folded state leads to a remarkably higher accessibility to complementary C-rich strand and the telomere binding protein POT1, reflecting a less stably folded state resulting from the vectorial folding. Importantly, our study points to an inherent difference between the co-polymerizing and post-polymerized folding of telomere overhang that can impact telomere architecture and downstream processes.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nucleic Acids Research
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 6271-6283
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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