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G-quadruplex DNA (G4DNA) structure, which widely exists in the chromosomal telomeric regions and oncogenic promoter regions, plays a pivotal role in extending telomeric DNA with the help of telomerase in human cells. Bloom (BLM) helicase, a crucial member of the family of genome surveillance proteins, plays an essential role in DNA metabolic and repair pathways, including DNA replication, repair, transcription, recombination during chromosome segregation, and assuring telomere stability. The unwinding of G4DNA requires the participation of DNA helicase, which is crucial for maintaining chromosomal stability in cancer cells. Using fluorescence polarization and the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), this study aimed to investigate the DNA-binding and unwinding properties of BLM helicase, cloned and purified from prostate cancer cells, toward G4DNA. The results revealed that BLM helicase derived from prostate cancer cells could bind and unwind G4DNA. The molecular affinity of bond between G4DNA and the helicase was dependent on the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) terminals in G4DNA; the helicase was effectively bound to the G4DNA when the helicase monomer sufficiently covered approximately 10 nucleotides at the 3' or 5' ssDNA tail of G4DNA. For the unwinding of G4DNA, there was an apparent requirement of a 3' ssDNA tail and ATP; a G4DNA with only a 3' ssDNA tail was identified to be the most suitable substrate to be unwound by BLM helicase and required 3' ssDNA tails of at least 10 nt in length for efficient unwinding. Besides, BLM helicase was loosely bound and partly unwound the blunt-ended G4DNA. Although further mechanistic studies are warranted, the experimental results presented in this study are beneficial to further our understanding of the functional implication of BLM helicase in prostate cancer cells. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Xu-Hui Zhu, Bao-Fei Sun, Mei Luo, Jia Yu, Yun-Dong Zhang, Hou-Qiang Xu, Heng Luo. Bloom helicase explicitly unwinds 3'-tailed G4DNA structure in prostate cancer cells. International journal of biological macromolecules. 2021 Jun 01;180:578-589

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PMID: 33727188

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