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      Human telomeric sequence forms a hybrid-type intramolecular G-quadruplex structure with mixed parallel/antiparallel strands in potassium solution

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          Abstract

          Human telomeric DNA consists of tandem repeats of the sequence d(TTAGGG). The formation and stabilization of DNA G-quadruplexes in the human telomeric sequence have been shown to inhibit the activity of telomerase, thus the telomeric DNA G-quadruplex has been considered as an attractive target for cancer therapeutic intervention. However, knowledge of the intact human telomeric G-quadruplex structure(s) formed under physiological conditions is a prerequisite for structure-based rational drug design. Here we report the folding structure of the human telomeric sequence in K + solution determined by NMR. Our results demonstrate a novel, unprecedented intramolecular G-quadruplex folding topology with hybrid-type mixed parallel/antiparallel G-strands. This telomeric G-quadruplex structure contains three G-tetrads with mixed G-arrangements, which are connected consecutively with a double-chain-reversal side loop and two lateral loops, each consisting of three nucleotides TTA. This intramolecular hybrid-type telomeric G-quadruplex structure formed in K + solution is distinct from those reported on the 22 nt Tel22 in Na + solution and in crystalline state in the presence of K +, and appears to be the predominant conformation for the extended 26 nt telomeric sequence Tel26 in the presence of K +, regardless of the presence or absence of Na +. Furthermore, the addition of K + readily converts the Na +-form conformation to the K +-form hybrid-type G-quadruplex. Our results explain all the reported experimental data on the human telomeric G-quadruplexes formed in the presence of K +, and provide important insights for understanding the polymorphism and interconversion of various G-quadruplex structures formed within the human telomeric sequence, as well as the effects of sequence and cations. This hybrid-type G-quadruplex topology suggests a straightforward pathway for the secondary structure formation with effective packing within the extended human telomeric DNA. The hybrid-type telomeric G-quadruplex is most likely to be of pharmacological relevance, and the distinct folding topology of this G-quadruplex suggests that it can be specifically targeted by G-quadruplex interactive small molecule drugs.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Extension of life-span by introduction of telomerase into normal human cells.

          Normal human cells undergo a finite number of cell divisions and ultimately enter a nondividing state called replicative senescence. It has been proposed that telomere shortening is the molecular clock that triggers senescence. To test this hypothesis, two telomerase-negative normal human cell types, retinal pigment epithelial cells and foreskin fibroblasts, were transfected with vectors encoding the human telomerase catalytic subunit. In contrast to telomerase-negative control clones, which exhibited telomere shortening and senescence, telomerase-expressing clones had elongated telomeres, divided vigorously, and showed reduced straining for beta-galactosidase, a biomarker for senescence. Notably, the telomerase-expressing clones have a normal karyotype and have already exceeded their normal life-span by at least 20 doublings, thus establishing a causal relationship between telomere shortening and in vitro cellular senescence. The ability to maintain normal human cells in a phenotypically youthful state could have important applications in research and medicine.
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            Solution structure of the human telomeric repeat d[AG3(T2AG3)3] G-tetraplex.

            Repeats of Gn sequences are detected as single strand overhangs at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes together with associated binding proteins. Such telomere sequences have been implicated in the replication and maintenance of chromosomal termini. They may also mediate chromosomal organization and association during meiosis and mitosis. We have determined the three-dimensional solution structure of the human telomere sequence, d[AG3(T2AG3)3] in Na(+)-containing solution using a combined NMR, distance geometry and molecular dynamics approach (including relaxation matrix refinement). The sequence, which contains four AG3 repeats, folds intramolecularly into a G-tetraplex stabilized by three stacked G-tetrads which are connected by two lateral loops and a central diagonal loop. Of the four grooves that are formed, one is wide, two are of medium width and one is narrow. The alignment of adjacent G-G-G segments in parallel generates the two grooves of medium width whilst the antiparallel arrangement results in one wide and one narrow groove. Three of the four adenines stack on top of adjacent G-tetrads while the majority of the thymines sample multiple conformations. The availability of the d[AG3(T2AG3)3] solution structure containing four AG3 human telomeric repeats should permit the rational design of ligands that recognize and bind with specificity and affinity to the individual grooves of the G-tetraplex, as well as to either end containing the diagonal and lateral loops. Such ligands could modulate the equilibrium between folded G-tetraplex structures and their unfolded extended counterparts.
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              DNA and its associated processes as targets for cancer therapy.

              DNA is the molecular target for many of the drugs that are used in cancer therapeutics, and is viewed as a non-specific target of cytotoxic agents. Although this is true for traditional chemotherapeutics, other agents that were discovered more recently have shown enhanced efficacy. Furthermore, a new generation of agents that target DNA-associated processes are anticipated to be far more specific and effective. How have these agents evolved, and what are their molecular targets?
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Oxford University Press
                0305-1048
                1362-4962
                2006
                2006
                19 May 2006
                : 34
                : 9
                : 2723-2735
                Affiliations
                1College of Pharmacy, The University of Arizona 1703 E. Mabel St, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
                2Arizona Cancer Center 1515 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA
                3Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +1 520 626 5969; Fax: +1 520 626 6988; Email: yangd@ 123456pharmacy.arizona.edu
                Article
                10.1093/nar/gkl348
                1464114
                16714449
                © The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved

                The online version of this article has been published under an open access model. Users are entitled to use, reproduce, disseminate, or display the open access version of this article for non-commercial purposes provided that: the original authorship is properly and fully attributed; the Journal and Oxford University Press are attributed as the original place of publication with the correct citation details given; if an article is subsequently reproduced or disseminated not in its entirety but only in part or as a derivative work this must be clearly indicated. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org

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                Genetics

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