Telomere maintenance in fission yeast requires an Est1 ortholog
Telomerase regulation is critical to genome maintenance yet remains poorly understood. Without telomerase's ability to synthesize telomere repeats, chromosome ends shorten progressively, as conventional DNA polymerases cannot fully replicate the ends of linear molecules. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, telomerase activity in vivo absolutely depends on a set of telomerase accessory proteins that includes Est1p, which appears to recruit or activate telomerase at the site of polymerization. Thus, est1Delta cells have the same cellular senescence phenotype as cells lacking either the catalytic protein subunit of telomerase or its template-containing RNA subunit. While the telomerase protein is highly conserved among eukaryotes, the apparent lack of Est1p homologs has frustrated efforts to describe a common mechanism of telomerase recruitment and activation. Here, we describe SpEst1p, a homolog of Est1p from the evolutionarily distant Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Like ScEst1p, SpEst1p is required for telomerase activity in vivo. Coupled with the identification of an orthologous Est1 protein in humans , this suggests a much wider conservation of telomerase regulation than was previously known. Strikingly, in cells with compromised telomere function (taz1Delta), SpEst1p loss confers a lethal germination phenotype, while telomerase loss does not, indicating that SpEst1p plays an unexpected additional role in chromosome end protection.
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Record created on 2007-12-17, modified on 2016-08-08