Telomerlc DNA in Saccharomyces Is organized into a non-nucleosomal chromatin structure called the telo-some that can be released from chromosome ends in soluble form by nuclease digestion (Wright, J. H., Gottschling, D. E. and Zakian, V. A. (1992) Genes Dev. 6, 197-210). The protein-DNA Interactions of soluble telosomes were investigated by monitoring isolated telomeric DNA fragments for the retention of bound protein using both gel mobility shift and nitrocellulose filter-binding assays. Telosomal proteins remained associated with telomeric DNA at concentrations of ethidlum bromide that dissociated nucleosomes. The protein-DNA Interactions In the yeast telosome were also disrupted by much lower salt concentrations than those known to disrupt either the interactions of ciliate terminus-binding proteins with telomeric DNA or the Interactions of hlstones with DNA in nucleosomes. Taken together, these data corroborate previously published nuclease mapping data indicating that telosomes are distinct in structure from conventional nucleosomes. These data also Indicate that yeast do not possess telomere binding proteins similar to those detected in ciliates that remain tightly bound to telomeric DNA even in high salt. In addition, the characteristic gel mobility shift of soluble telosomes could be mimicked by complexes formed In vitro with yeast telomeric DNA and recombinant Rap1p suggesting that Rap1 p, a known component of soluble yeast telosomes (Wright, J. H., Gottschling, D. E. and Zakian, V. A. (1992) Genes Dev. 6, 197-210; Conrad, M. N., Wright, J. H., Wolf, A. J. and Zakian, V. A. (1990) Cell63, 739-750), Is likely to be the major structural protein bound directly to yeast telomeric DNA.
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