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Cell. 1993 Apr 23;73(2):347-60.

An alternative pathway for yeast telomere maintenance rescues est1- senescence.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of California, San Francisco 94143-0414.


Yeast cells lacking a functional EST1 gene show progressive shortening of the terminal G1-3T telomeric repeats and a parallel increase in the frequency of cell death. Although the majority of the cells in an est1- culture die, a minor subpopulation survives the potentially lethal consequences of the est1 mutation. We show that these est1- survivors arise as a result of the amplification and acquisition of subtelomeric elements (and their deletion derivatives) by a large number of telomeres. Hence, even when the primary pathway for telomere replication is defective, an alternative backup pathway can restore telomere function and keep the cell alive.

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