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Biochimie. 2008 Jan;90(1):108-15. Epub 2007 Sep 22.

Budding yeast with human telomeres: a puzzling structure.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e dello Sviluppo, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italy.


Telomeres share some common features among eukaryotes, with few exceptions such as the fruit fly Drosophila that uses transposons as telomeres, they consist of G-rich repetitive DNA that is elongated by telomerase and/or alternative pathways depending on recombination. Telomere structure comprises both cis-acting satellite DNA (telomeric DNA) and proteins that interact directly and/or indirectly with the underlying DNA. Telomeric DNAs are surprisingly conserved among the vertebrates and very similar in most eukaryotes, but present some differences in yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The telomeric proteins are more variable although the basic mechanisms which control telomere lengthening and capping are very similar, in fact orthologues of the yeast telomeric proteins, which have been studied first, have been identified in other organisms. Here we describe the structure of human telomeres in budding yeast as compared to canonical yeast and mammalian telomeres taking into consideration the more recent findings highlighting the mechanisms that are responsible for chromosome end protection and lengthening, and the role of chromatin organization in telomere function. This yeast represents a model for the study of mammalian telomeres that could be reconstituted step-by-step in all their components, moreover it could be useful for the assembly of mammalian artificial chromosome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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