An interlocked dimer of the protelomerase TelK distorts DNA structure for the formation of hairpin telomeres.
ABSTRACT: The termini of linear chromosomes are protected by specialized DNA structures known as telomeres that also facilitate the complete replication of DNA ends. The simplest type of telomere is a covalently closed DNA hairpin structure found in linear chromosomes of prokaryotes and viruses. Bidirectional replication of a chromosome with hairpin telomeres produces a catenated circular dimer that is subsequently resolved into unit-length chromosomes by a dedicated DNA cleavage-rejoining enzyme known as a hairpin telomere resolvase (protelomerase). Here we report a crystal structure of the protelomerase TelK from Klebsiella oxytoca phage varphiKO2, in complex with the palindromic target DNA. The structure shows the TelK dimer destabilizes base pairing interactions to promote the refolding of cleaved DNA ends into two hairpin ends. We propose that the hairpinning reaction is made effectively irreversible by a unique protein-induced distortion of the DNA substrate that prevents religation of the cleaved DNA substrate.
Project description:The prophage of coliphage N15 is not integrated into the chromosome but exists as a linear plasmid molecule with covalently closed hairpin ends (telomeres). Upon infection the injected phage DNA circularizes via its cohesive ends. Then, a phage-encoded enzyme, protelomerase, cuts the circle and forms the hairpin telomeres. N15 protelomerase acts as a telomere-resolving enzyme during prophage DNA replication. We characterized the N15 replicon and found that replication of circular N15 miniplasmids requires only the repA gene, which encodes a multidomain protein homologous to replication proteins of bacterial plasmids replicated by a theta-mechanism. Replication of a linear N15 miniplasmid also requires the protelomerase gene and telomere regions. N15 prophage replication is initiated at an internal ori site located within repA and proceeds bidirectionally. Electron microscopy data suggest that after duplication of the left telomere, protelomerase cuts this site generating Y-shaped molecules. Full replication of the molecule and subsequent resolution of the right telomere then results in two linear plasmid molecules. N15 prophage replication thus appears to follow a mechanism that is distinct from that employed by eukaryotic replicons with this type of telomere and suggests the possibility of evolutionarily independent appearances of prokaryotic and eukaryotic replicons with covalently closed telomeres.
Project description:Hairpin telomeres of bacterial linear chromosomes are generated by a DNA cutting-rejoining enzyme protelomerase. Protelomerase resolves a concatenated dimer of chromosomes as the last step of chromosome replication, converting a palindromic DNA sequence at the junctions between chromosomes into covalently closed hairpins. The mechanism by which protelomerase transforms a duplex DNA substrate into the hairpin telomeres remains largely unknown. We report here a series of crystal structures of the protelomerase TelA bound to DNA that represent distinct stages along the reaction pathway. The structures suggest that TelA converts a linear duplex substrate into hairpin turns via a transient strand-refolding intermediate that involves DNA-base flipping and wobble base-pairs. The extremely compact di-nucleotide hairpin structure of the product is fully stabilized by TelA prior to strand ligation, which drives the reaction to completion. The enzyme-catalyzed, multistep strand refolding is a novel mechanism in DNA rearrangement reactions.
Project description:Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58, the pathogenic bacteria that causes crown gall disease in plants, harbors one circular and one linear chromosome and two circular plasmids. The telomeres of its unusual linear chromosome are covalently closed hairpins. The circular and linear chromosomes co-segregate and are stably maintained in the organism. We have determined the sequence of the two ends of the linear chromosome thus completing the previously published genome sequence of A. tumefaciens C58. We found that the telomeres carry nearly identical 25-bp sequences at the hairpin ends that are related by dyad symmetry. We further showed that its Atu2523 gene encodes a protelomerase (resolvase) and that the purified enzyme can generate the linear chromosomal closed hairpin ends in a sequence-specific manner. Agrobacterium protelomerase, whose presence is apparently limited to biovar 1 strains, acts via a cleavage-and-religation mechanism by making a pair of transient staggered nicks invariably at 6-bp spacing as the reaction intermediate. The enzyme can be significantly shortened at both the N and C termini and still maintain its enzymatic activity. Although the full-length enzyme can uniquely bind to its product telomeres, the N-terminal truncations cannot. The target site can also be shortened from the native 50-bp inverted repeat to 26 bp; thus, the Agrobacterium hairpin-generating system represents the most compact activity of all hairpin linear chromosome- and plasmid-generating systems to date. The biochemical analyses of the protelomerase reactions further revealed that the tip of the hairpin telomere may be unusually polymorphically capable of accommodating any nucleotide.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 pandemic strains recovered in Chile frequently possess a 42-kb plasmid which is the prophage of a myovirus. We studied the prototype phage VP58.5 and show that it does not integrate into the host cell chromosome but replicates as a linear plasmid (Vp58.5) with covalently closed ends (telomeres). The Vp58.5 replicon coexists with other plasmid prophages (N15, PY54, and PhiKO2) in the same cell and thus belongs to a new incompatibility group of telomere phages. We determined the complete nucleotide sequence (42,612 nucleotides) of the VP58.5 phage DNA and compared it with that of the plasmid prophage. The two molecules share the same nucleotide sequence but are 35% circularly permuted to each other. In contrast to the hairpin ends of the plasmid, VP58.5 phage DNA contains 5'-protruding ends. The VP58.5 sequence is 92% identical to the sequence of phage VHML, which was reported to integrate into the host chromosome. However, the gene order and termini of the phage DNAs are different. The VHML genome exhibits the same gene order as does the Vp58.5 plasmid. VHML phage DNA has been reported to contain terminal inverted repeats. This repetitive sequence is similar to the telomere resolution site (telRL) of VP58.5 which, after processing by the phage protelomerase, forms the hairpin ends of the Vp58.5 prophage. It is discussed why these closely related phages may be so different in terms of their genome ends and their lifestyle.
Project description:Telomeres protect the ends of cellular chromosomes. We show here that infection with herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) results in chromosomal structural aberrations at telomeres and the accumulation of telomere dysfunction-induced DNA damage foci (TIFs). At the molecular level, HSV-1 induces transcription of telomere repeat-containing RNA (TERRA), followed by the proteolytic degradation of the telomere protein TPP1 and loss of the telomere repeat DNA signal. The HSV-1-encoded E3 ubiquitin ligase ICP0 is required for TERRA transcription and facilitates TPP1 degradation. Small hairpin RNA (shRNA) depletion of TPP1 increases viral replication, indicating that TPP1 inhibits viral replication. Viral replication protein ICP8 forms foci that coincide with telomeric proteins, and ICP8-null virus failed to degrade telomere DNA signal. These findings suggest that HSV-1 reorganizes telomeres to form ICP8-associated prereplication foci and to promote viral genomic replication.
Project description:Telomeres, the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, are characterized by the presence of multiple repeats of a short DNA sequence. This telomeric DNA is protected from illicit repair by telomere-associated proteins, which in mammals form the shelterin complex. Replicative polymerases are unable to synthesize DNA at the extreme ends of chromosomes, but in unicellular eukaryotes such as yeast and in mammalian germ cells and stem cells, telomere length is maintained by a ribonucleoprotein enzyme known as telomerase. Recent work has provided insights into the mechanisms of telomerase recruitment to telomeres, highlighting the contribution of telomere-associated proteins, including TPP1 in humans, Ccq1 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Cdc13 and Ku70-Ku80 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Project description:Mammalian telomeres are thought to be composed of a tandem array of TTAGGG repeats. To further define the type and arrangement of sequences at the ends of human chromosomes, we developed a direct cloning strategy for telomere-associated DNA. The method involves a telomere enrichment procedure based on the relative lack of restriction endonuclease cutting sites near the ends of human chromosomes. Nineteen (TTAGGG)n-bearing plasmids were isolated, two of which contain additional human sequences proximal to the telomeric repeats. These telomere-flanking sequences detect BAL 31-sensitive loci and thus are located close to chromosome ends. One of the flanking regions is part of a subtelomeric repeat that is present at 10 to 25% of the chromosome ends in the human genome. This sequence is not conserved in rodent DNA and therefore should be a helpful tool for physical characterization of human chromosomes in human-rodent hybrid cell lines; some of the chromosomes that may be analyzed in this manner have been identified, i.e., 7, 16, 17, and 21. The minimal size of the subtelomeric repeat is 4 kilobases (kb); it shows a high frequency of restriction fragment length polymorphisms and undergoes extensive de novo methylation in somatic cells. Distal to the subtelomeric repeat, the chromosomes terminate in a long region (up to 14 kb) that may be entirely composed of TTAGGG repeats. This terminal segment is unusually variable. Although sperm telomeres are 10 to 14 kb long, telomeres in somatic cells are several kilobase pairs shorter and very heterogeneous in length. Additional telomere reduction occurs in primary tumors, indicating that somatic telomeres are unstable and may continuously lose sequences from their termini.
Project description:Analysis of terminal deletion chromosomes indicates that a sequence-independent mechanism regulates protection of Drosophila telomeres. Mutations in Drosophila DNA damage response genes such as atm/tefu, mre11, or rad50 disrupt telomere protection and localization of the telomere-associated proteins HP1 and HOAP, suggesting that recognition of chromosome ends contributes to telomere protection. However, the partial telomere protection phenotype of these mutations limits the ability to test if they act in the epigenetic telomere protection mechanism. We examined the roles of the Drosophila atm and atr-atrip DNA damage response pathways and the nbs homolog in DNA damage responses and telomere protection. As in other organisms, the atm and atr-atrip pathways act in parallel to promote telomere protection. Cells lacking both pathways exhibit severe defects in telomere protection and fail to localize the protection protein HOAP to telomeres. Drosophila nbs is required for both atm- and atr-dependent DNA damage responses and acts in these pathways during DNA repair. The telomere fusion phenotype of nbs is consistent with defects in each of these activities. Cells defective in both the atm and atr pathways were used to examine if DNA damage response pathways regulate telomere protection without affecting telomere specific sequences. In these cells, chromosome fusion sites retain telomere-specific sequences, demonstrating that loss of these sequences is not responsible for loss of protection. Furthermore, terminally deleted chromosomes also fuse in these cells, directly implicating DNA damage response pathways in the epigenetic protection of telomeres. We propose that recognition of chromosome ends and recruitment of HP1 and HOAP by DNA damage response proteins is essential for the epigenetic protection of Drosophila telomeres. Given the conserved roles of DNA damage response proteins in telomere function, related mechanisms may act at the telomeres of other organisms.
Project description:The genome of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi contains about a dozen linear DNA molecules that carry covalently closed hairpin telomeres as a specialized mechanism for dealing with the end-replication problem. The hairpin telomeres are generated from replicative intermediates through a two-step transesterification promoted by the telomere resolvase ResT. Although the genome of B. burgdorferi has been sequenced, the sequence of most telomeres has remained unknown because of difficulties in recovering and completely sequencing the covalently closed hairpin ends. In this study we report a new approach for the direct sequencing Borrelia telomeres and report the sequence, characterization, and in vitro reaction properties of 19 unique telomeres. Surprisingly, a variation of greater than 160-fold in the initial reaction rates of in vitro ResT-mediated telomere resolution was observed between the most active and least active telomeres. Moreover, three of the hairpin telomeres were completely inactive in vitro, but their in vivo functionality was demonstrated. Our results provide important new information on the structure and function of the B. burgdorferi telomeres and suggest the possibility that factors besides the telomere resolvase ResT may influence the reaction in vivo and rescue those telomeres that are not functional in vitro with ResT alone.
Project description:Spirochetes of the genus Borrelia possess unusual genomes that consist in a linear chromosome and multiple linear and circular plasmids. The linear replicons are terminated by covalently closed hairpin ends, referred to as hairpin telomeres. The hairpin telomeres represent a simple solution to the end-replication problem. Deoxyribonucleic acid replication initiates internally and proceeds bidirectionally toward the hairpin telomeres. The telomere resolvase, ResT, forms the hairpin telomeres from replicated telomere intermediates in a reaction with similarities to those promoted by type IB topoisomerases and tyrosine recombinases. ResT has also been shown to possess DNA single-strand annealing activity. We report here that ResT promotes single-strand annealing of both free DNA strands and ssDNA complexed with single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB). The annealing of complementary strands bound by SSB requires a ResT-SSB interaction that is mediated by the conserved amphipathic C-terminal tail of SSB. These properties of ResT are similar to those demonstrated for the recombination mediator protein, RecO, of the RecF pathway. Borrelia burgdorferi is unusual in lacking identifiable homologs of the RecFOR proteins. We propose that ResT may provide missing RecFOR functions.