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Genetics. 2002 Aug;161(4):1437-52.

Telomere binding of checkpoint sensor and DNA repair proteins contributes to maintenance of functional fission yeast telomeres.

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Departments of Molecular Biology and Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Telomeres, the ends of linear chromosomes, are DNA double-strand ends that do not trigger a cell cycle arrest and yet require checkpoint and DNA repair proteins for maintenance. Genetic and biochemical studies in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe were undertaken to understand how checkpoint and DNA repair proteins contribute to telomere maintenance. On the basis of telomere lengths of mutant combinations of various checkpoint-related proteins (Rad1, Rad3, Rad9, Rad17, Rad26, Hus1, Crb2, Chk1, Cds1), Tel1, a telomere-binding protein (Taz1), and DNA repair proteins (Ku70, Rad32), we conclude that Rad3/Rad26 and Tel1/Rad32 represent two pathways required to maintain telomeres and prevent chromosome circularization. Rad1/Rad9/Hus1/Rad17 and Ku70 are two additional epistasis groups, which act in the Rad3/Rad26 pathway. However, Rad3/Rad26 must have additional target(s), as cells lacking Tel1/Rad32, Rad1/Rad9/Hus1/Rad17, and Ku70 groups did not circularize chromosomes. Cells lacking Rad3/Rad26 and Tel1/Rad32 senesced faster than a telomerase trt1Delta mutant, suggesting that these pathways may contribute to telomere protection. Deletion of taz1 did not suppress chromosome circularization in cells lacking Rad3/Rad26 and Tel1/Rad32, also suggesting that two pathways protect telomeres. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses found that Rad3, Rad1, Rad9, Hus1, Rad17, Rad32, and Ku70 associate with telomeres. Thus, checkpoint sensor and DNA repair proteins contribute to telomere maintenance and protection through their association with telomeres.

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