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Nature. 1997 Feb 20;385(6618):744-7.

Regulation of telomere length and function by a Myb-domain protein in fission yeast.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309, USA.


Telomeres, the specialized nucleoprotein structures that comprise the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, are essential for complete replication, and regulation of their length has been a focus of research on tumorigenesis. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the protein Rap1p binds to telomeric DNA and functions in the regulation of telomere length. A human telomere protein, hTRF (human TTAGGG repeat factor) binds the telomere sequence in vitro and localizes to telomeres cytologically, but its functions are not yet known. Here we use a genetic screen to identify a telomere protein in fission yeast, Taz1p (telomere-associated in Schizosaccharomyces pombe), that shares homology to the Myb proto-oncogene DNA-binding domain with hTRF. Disruption or deletion of the taz1+ gene causes a massive increase in telomere length. Taz1p is required for the repression of telomere-adjacent gene expression and for normal meiosis or sporulation. It may be a negative regulator of the telomere-replicating enzyme, telomerase, or may protect against activation of telomerase-independent pathways of telomere elongation.

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