The involvement of the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 complex in the generation of G-overhangs at human telomeres

Weihang Chai, Agnel J. Sfeir, Hirotoshi Hoshiyama, Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


A central function of telomeres is to prevent chromosome ends from being recognized as DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Several proteins involved in processing DSBs associate with telomeres, but the roles of these factors at telomeres are largely unknown. To investigate whether the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 (MRN) complex is involved in the generation of proper 3′ G-overhangs at human telomere ends, we used RNA interference to decrease expression of MRN and analysed their effects. Reduction of MRN resulted in a transient shortening of G-overhang length in telomerase-positive cells. The terminal nucleotides of both C- and G-rich strands remain unaltered in Mre11-diminished cells, indicating that MRN is not responsible for specifying the final end-processing event. The reduction in overhang length was not seen in telomerase-negative cells, but was observed after the expression of exogenous telomerase, which suggested that the MRN complex might be involved in the recruitment or action of telomerase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • 3′ G-overhang
  • DNA double-strand break repair
  • Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1
  • Telomere
  • Telomere end processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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