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Hiding at the ends of yeast chromosomes: telomeres, nucleases and checkpoint pathways

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Lydall


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Telomeres stabilise DNA at the ends of chromosomes, preventing chromosome fusion and genetic instability. Telomeres differ from double strand breaks in that they activate neither DNA repair nor DNA damage checkpoint pathways. Paradoxically DNA repair and checkpoint genes play critical roles in telomere stability. Recent work has provided insights into the roles of DNA repair and DNA damage checkpoint pathways in the physiological maintenance of telomeres and in cellular responses when telomeres become uncapped. In budding yeast the Mre11p nuclease, along with other unidentified nucleases, plays critical roles in physiological telomere maintenance. However, when telomeres are uncapped, the 5'-to-3' exonuclease, Exo1p, plays a critical role in generating single-stranded DNA and activating checkpoint pathways. Intriguingly Exo1p does not play an important role in normal telomere maintenance. Although checkpoint pathways are not normally activated by telomeres, at least four different types of telomere defect activate checkpoint pathways. Interestingly, each of these telomere defects depends on a different subset of checkpoint proteins to induce cell cycle arrest. A model for how a spectrum of telomeric states might interact with telomerase and checkpoint pathways is proposed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lydall D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cell Science

Year: 2003

Volume: 116

Issue: 20

Pages: 4057-4065

ISSN (print): 0021-9533

ISSN (electronic): 1477-9137

Publisher: The Company of Biologists Ltd.


DOI: 10.1242/jcs.00765

Notes: 0021-9533 Journal Article


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