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Capping off the ends

Capping off the ends

Nature 397(6716): 3-14

In a recent Cell, Horvath et al. describe the crystal structure of the telomere end-binding protein (TEBP) of the ciliate Oxytricha nova. TEBP forms a cap over the DNA at the ends of chromosomes, thus protecting it from degradation and end-to-end fusion and preventing a cellular DNA-damage response. Horvath et al.'s structure reveals that the a and b subunits of TEBP form a deep groove in which single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) sits. Apparently, the DNA and protein must co-fold for binding to occur, which offers a new explanation as to how ssDNA-binding proteins can recognize specific sequences.

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