Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version

November 1997


Published in Molecular Biology of the Cell Vol. 8, 2145–2155, November 1997. Permission to use.


We have used the ciliate Euplotes to study the role of DNA polymerase in telomeric C strand synthesis. Euplotes provides a unique opportunity to study C strand synthesis without the complication of simultaneous DNA replication because millions of new telomeres are made at a stage in the life cycle when no general DNA replication takes place. Previously we showed that the C-strands of newly synthesized telomeres have a precisely controlled length while the G-strands are more heterogeneous. This finding suggested that, although synthesis of the G-strand (by telomerase) is the first step in telomere addition, a major regulatory step occurs during subsequent C strand synthesis. We have now examined whether G- and C strand synthesis might be regulated coordinately rather than by two independent mechanisms. We accomplished this by determining what happens to G- and C strand length if C strand synthesis is partially inhibited by aphidicolin. Aphidicolin treatment caused a general lengthening of the G-strands and a large increase in C strand heterogeneity. This concomitant change in both the G- and C strand length indicates that synthesis of the two strands is coordinated. Since aphidicolin is a very specific inhibitor of DNA polα and polδ, our results suggest that this coordinate length regulation is mediated by DNA polymerase.

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