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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2008;122(3-4):356-64. doi: 10.1159/000167823. Epub 2009 Jan 30.

Regulation of telomere length in Drosophila.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2233, USA.

Abstract

Telomeres in all organisms must perform the same vital functions to ensure cell viability: to act as a protective chromosome cap that distinguishes natural chromosome ends from DNA double strand breaks, and to balance the loss of DNA from the chromosome end due to incomplete DNA replication. Most eukaryotes rely on a specialized reverse transcriptase, telomerase, to generate short repeats at the chromosome end to maintain chromosome length. Drosophila, however, uses retrotransposons that target telomeres. Transposition of these elements may be controlled by small RNAs and spreading of silent chromatin from the telomere associated sequence, both of which limit the retrotransposon expression level. Proteins binding to the retrotransposon array, such as HP1 and PROD, may also modulate transcription. It is not clear however, that simply increasing transcript levels of the telomeric retrotransposons is sufficient to increase transposition. The chromosome cap may control the ability of the telomere-specific elements to attach to chromosome ends. As in other organisms, chromosomes can be elongated by gene conversion. Although the mechanism is not known, HP1, a component of the cap, and the Ku proteins are key components in this pathway.

PMID:
19188706
PMCID:
PMC2637470
DOI:
10.1159/000167823
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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