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Journal Article

Telomere Fusions Caused by Mutating the Terminal Region of Telomeric DNA

Michael J. McEachern, Shilpa Iyer, Tracy Boswell Fulton and Elizabeth H. Blackburn
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 97, No. 21 (Oct. 10, 2000), pp. 11409-11414
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/123409
Page Count: 6

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Topics: Telomeres, Genetic mutation, Yeasts, Plasmids, DNA, Binding sites, Cell growth, DNA probes, Oligonucleotides
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Telomere Fusions Caused by Mutating the Terminal Region of Telomeric DNA
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Abstract

Mutations in the template region of a telomerase RNA gene can lead to the corresponding sequence alterations appearing in newly synthesized telomeric repeats. We analyzed a set of mutations in the template region of the telomerase RNA gene (TER1) of the budding yeast Kluyveromyces lactis that were predicted to lead to synthesis of mutant telomeric repeats with disrupted binding of the telomeric protein Rap1p. We showed previously that mutating the left side of the 12-bp consensus Rap1p binding site led to immediate and severe telomere elongation. Here, we show that, in contrast, mutating either the right side of the site or both sides together leads initially to telomere shortening. On additional passaging, certain mutants of both categories exhibit telomere-telomere fusions. Often, six new Bal-31-resistant, telomere repeat-containing bands appeared, and we infer that each of the six K. lactis chromosomes became circularized. These fusions were not stable, appearing occasionally to resolve and then reform. We demonstrate directly that a linear minichromosome introduced into one of the fusion mutant strains circularized by means of end-to-end fusions of the mutant repeat tracts. In contrast to the chromosomal circularization reported previously in Schizosaccharomyces pombe mutants defective in telomere maintenance, the K. lactis telomere fusions retained their telomeric DNA repeat sequences.

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