Author(s): Gatbonton T, Imbesi M, Nelson M, Akey JM, Ruderfer DM,
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Abstract Telomere length-variation in deletion strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was used to identify genes and pathways that regulate telomere length. We found 72 genes that when deleted confer short telomeres, and 80 genes that confer long telomeres relative to those of wild-type yeast. Among identified genes, 88 have not been previously implicated in telomere length control. Genes that regulate telomere length span a variety of functions that can be broadly separated into telomerase-dependent and telomerase-independent pathways. We also found 39 genes that have an important role in telomere maintenance or cell proliferation in the absence of telomerase, including genes that participate in deoxyribonucleotide biosynthesis, sister chromatid cohesion, and vacuolar protein sorting. Given the large number of loci identified, we investigated telomere lengths in 13 wild yeast strains and found substantial natural variation in telomere length among the isolates. Furthermore, we crossed a wild isolate to a laboratory strain and analyzed telomere length in 122 progeny. Genome-wide linkage analysis among these segregants revealed two loci that account for 30\%-35\% of telomere length-variation between the strains. These findings support a general model of telomere length-variation in outbred populations that results from polymorphisms at a large number of loci. Furthermore, our results laid the foundation for studying genetic determinants of telomere length-variation and their roles in human disease.
This article was published in PLoS Genet
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology