Date of this Version
Nucleic Acids Research, 1993, Vol. 21, No. 23
In Euplotes crassus millions of telomeres are synthesized during the sexual phase of the life cycle. Since these newly synthesized telomeres are longer than normal macronuclear telomeres, they must be trimmed to the mature size. We have examined the timing and mechanism of this trimming step. We have shown that a sudden decrease in telomere length takes place at a specific time during macronuclear development. The decrease in telomere length is not caused by incomplete replication of the most terminal DNA sequences; rather it is the result of an active processing event that occurs independently of DNA replication. The developmentally regulated telomere shortening that takes place in Euplotes is reminiscent of the sudden reductions in telomere length which have been observed in other eukaryotes.