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Plant J. 2006 Apr;46(2):206-17.

Sequencing and characterization of telomere and subtelomere regions on rice chromosomes 1S, 2S, 2L, 6L, 7S, 7L and 8S.

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National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, 1-2, Kannondai 2-chome, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan.


Telomeres, which are important for chromosome maintenance, are composed of long, repetitive DNA sequences associated with a variety of telomere-binding proteins. We characterized the organization and structure of rice telomeres and adjacent subtelomere regions on the basis of cytogenetic and sequence analyses. The length of the rice telomeres ranged from 5.1 to 10.8 kb, as revealed by both fibre-fluorescent in situ hybridization and terminal restriction-fragment assay. Physical maps of the chromosomal ends were constructed from a fosmid library. This facilitated sequencing of the telomere regions of chromosomes 1S, 2S, 2L, 6L, 7S, 7L and 8S. The resulting sequences contained conserved TTTAGGG telomere repeats, which indicates that the physical maps partly covered the telomere regions of the respective chromosome arms. These repeats were organized in the order of 5'-TTTAGGG-3' from the chromosome-specific region, except in chromosome 7S, in which seven inverted copies also existed in tandem array. Analysis of the telomere-flanking regions revealed the occurrence of deletions, insertions, or chromosome-specific substitutions of single nucleotides within the repeat sequences at the junction between the telomere and subtelomere. The sequences of the 500-kb regions of the seven chromosome ends were analysed in detail. A total of 598 genes were predicted in the telomeric regions. In addition, repetitive sequences derived from various kinds of retrotransposon were identified. No significant evidence for segmental duplication could be detected within or among the subtelomere regions. These results indicate that the rice chromosome ends are heterogeneous in both sequence and characterization.

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