Extended DNA binding site in Pot1 broadens sequence specificity to allow recognition of heterogeneous fission yeast telomeres

J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 11;280(10):9119-28. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M414511200. Epub 2005 Jan 6.


The Pot1 (protection of telomeres) protein binds to single-stranded telomeric DNA and is essential for the protection of chromosome ends from degradation and end-to-end fusions. The Pot1 amino-terminal DNA binding domain, Pot1N, adopts an oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide binding fold and binds GGTTAC motifs cooperatively and with exceptionally high sequence specificity. We have now examined DNA binding to naturally occurring telomeric substrates based on the analysis of 100 cloned chromosome ends and in the context of the full-length Pot1 protein. Here, we describe several important differences between Pot1 and Pot1N with apparent consequences for chromosome end protection. Specifically, full-length Pot1.DNA complexes are more stable, and the minimal binding site for a Pot1 monomer is extended into two adjacent telomeric repeats. We provide evidence that Pot1 contains a second DNA binding motif that recognizes DNA with reduced sequence specificity compared with the domain present in Pot1N. The two DNA binding motifs cooperate, whereby the amino-terminal oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide binding fold determines the registry of binding, and the internal DNA binding motif stabilizes the complex and expands the protected region toward the 3' -end. Consistent with a role in chromosome end capping, Pot1 prevents access of telomerase to the 3'-end and protects against exonucleolytic degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Fungal / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism*
  • Shelterin Complex
  • Telomere / chemistry
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Shelterin Complex
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins
  • pot1 protein, S pombe