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Cell. 1996 Oct 4;87(1):75-84.

Pdd1p, a novel chromodomain-containing protein, links heterochromatin assembly and DNA elimination in Tetrahymena.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


During Tetrahymena conjugation, programmed DNA degradation occurs in two separate nuclei. Thousands of germline-specific deletion elements are removed from the genome of the developing somatic macronucleus, and the old parental macronucleus is degraded by an apoptotic mechanism. An abundant polypeptide, Pdd1p (formerly p65), localizes to both of these nuclei at the time of DNA degradation. Here we report that, in developing macronuclei, Pdd1p localizes to electron-dense, heterochromatic structures that contain germline-specific deletion elements. Pdd1p also associates with parental macronuclei during terminal stages of apoptosis. Sequencing of the PDD1 gene reveals it to be a member of the chromodomain family, suggesting a molecular link between heterochromatin assembly and programmed DNA degradation.

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