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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 May-Jun;1769(5-6):399-409. Epub 2007 Feb 17.

Composition of plant telomeres.

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Gregor Mendel Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bohrgasse 3, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.


Telomeres are essential elements of eukaryotic chromosomes that differentiate native chromosome ends from deleterious DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). This is achieved by assembling chromosome termini in elaborate high-order nucleoprotein structures that in most organisms encompass telomeric DNA, specific telomere-associated proteins as well as general chromatin and DNA repair factors. Although the individual components of telomeric chromatin are evolutionary highly conserved, cross species comparisons have revealed a remarkable flexibility in their utilization at telomeres. This review outlines the strategies used for chromosome end protection and maintenance in mammals, yeast and flies and discusses current progress in deciphering telomere structure in plants.

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