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Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jul;37(12):3840-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp259. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

A genome-wide screen for essential yeast genes that affect telomere length maintenance.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel.


Telomeres are structures composed of repetitive DNA and proteins that protect the chromosomal ends in eukaryotic cells from fusion or degradation, thus contributing to genomic stability. Although telomere length varies between species, in all organisms studied telomere length appears to be controlled by a dynamic equilibrium between elongating mechanisms (mainly addition of repeats by the enzyme telomerase) and nucleases that shorten the telomeric sequences. Two previous studies have analyzed a collection of yeast deletion strains (deleted for nonessential genes) and found over 270 genes that affect telomere length (Telomere Length Maintenance or TLM genes). Here we complete the list of TLM by analyzing a collection of strains carrying hypomorphic alleles of most essential genes (DAmP collection). We identify 87 essential genes that affect telomere length in yeast. These genes interact with the nonessential TLM genes in a significant manner, and provide new insights on the mechanisms involved in telomere length maintenance. The newly identified genes span a variety of cellular processes, including protein degradation, pre-mRNA splicing and DNA replication.

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