Mutually exclusive binding of telomerase RNA and DNA by ku alters telomerase recruitment model.

Pfingsten JS, Goodrich KJ, Taabazuing C, Ouenzar F, Chartrand P, Cech TR

In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Ku heterodimer contributes to telomere maintenance as a component of telomeric chromatin and as an accessory subunit of telomerase. How Ku binding to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and to telomerase RNA (TLC1) promotes Ku's telomeric functions is incompletely understood. We demonstrate that deletions designed to constrict the DNA-binding ring of Ku80 disrupt nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ), telomeric gene silencing, and telomere length maintenance, suggesting that these functions require Ku's DNA end-binding activity. Contrary to the current model, a mutant Ku with low affinity for dsDNA also loses affinity for TLC1 both in vitro and in vivo. Competition experiments reveal that wild-type Ku binds dsDNA and TLC1 mutually exclusively. Cells expressing the mutant Ku are deficient in nuclear accumulation of TLC1, as expected from the RNA-binding defect. These findings force reconsideration of the mechanisms by which Ku assists in recruiting telomerase to natural telomeres and broken chromosome ends. PAPERCLIP:

Cell Lysis

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March, 2012



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