We have identified a rice gene encoding a DNA-binding protein that specifically recognizes the telomeric repeat sequence TTTAGGG found in plants. This gene, which we refer to as RTBP1 (rice telomere-binding protein 1), encodes a polypeptide with a predicted molecular mass of 70 kDa. RTBP1 is ubiquitously expressed in various organs and binds DNA with two or more duplex TTTAGGG repeats. The predicted protein sequence includes a single domain at the C terminus with extensive homology to Myb-like DNA binding motif. The Myb-like domain of RTBP1 is very closely related to that of other telomere-binding proteins, including TRF1, TRF2, Taz1p, and Tbf1p, indicating that DNA-binding domains of telomere-binding proteins are well conserved among evolutionarily distant species. To obtain precise information on the sequence of the DNA binding site recognized by RTBP1, we analyzed the sequence-specific binding properties of the isolated Myb-like domain of RTBP1. The isolated Myb-like domain was capable of sequence-specific DNA binding as a homodimer. Gel retardation analysis with a series of mutated telomere probes revealed that the internal GGGTTT sequence in the two-telomere repeats is critical for binding of Myb-like domain of RTBP1 which is consistent with the model of the TRF1·DNA complex showing that base-specific contacts are made within the sequence GGGTTA. To the best of our knowledge, RTBP1 is the first cloned gene in which the product is able to bind double-stranded telomeric DNA in plants. Because the Myb-like domain appears to be a significant motif for a large class of proteins that bind the duplex telomeric DNA, RTBP1 may play important roles in plant telomere function in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes