Background: The Saccharomyces Mre11 p, Rad50p, and Xrs2p proteins form a complex, called the MRX complex, that is required to maintain telomere length. Cells lacking any one of the three MRX proteins and Mec1p, an ATM-like protein kinase, undergo telomere shortening and ultimately die, phenotypes characteristic of cells lacking telomerase. The other ATM-like yeast kinase, Tel1p, appears to act in the same pathway as MRX: mec1 tel1 cells have telomere phenotypes similar to those of telomerase-deficient cells, whereas the phenotypes of tel1 cells are not exacerbated by the loss of a MRX protein. Results: The nuclease activity of Mrel1p was found to be dispensable for the telomerase-promoting activity of the MRX complex. The association of the single-stranded TG1-3 DNA binding protein Cdc13p with yeast telomeres occurred efficiently in the absence of Tell p, Mrel1p, Rad50p, or Xrs2p. Targeting of catalytically active telomerase to the telomere suppressed the senescence phenotype of mec1 mrx or mec1 tel1 cells. Moreover, when telomerase was targeted to telomeres, telomere lengthening was robust in mec1 mrx and mec1 tel1 cells. Conclusions: These data rule out models in which the MRX complex is necessary for Cdc13p binding to telomeres or in which the MRX complex is necessary for the catalytic activity of telomerase. Rather, the data suggest that the MRX complex is involved in recruiting telomerase activity to yeast telomeres.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)