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Aneuploidy as a mechanism of adaptation to telomerase insufficiency.

Authors: Caroline C. Millet, Svetlana S. Makovets
Published: 01/12/2016, Current genetics


Cells' survival is determined by their ability to adapt to constantly changing environment. Adaptation responses involve global changes in transcription, translation, and posttranslational modifications of proteins. In recent years, karyotype changes in adapting populations of single cell organisms have been reported in a number of studies. More recently, we have described aneuploidy as an adaptation mechanism used by populations of budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to survive telomerase insufficiency induced by elevated growth temperature. Genetic evidence suggests that telomerase insufficiency is caused by decreased levels of the telomerase catalytic subunit Est2. Here, we present experiments arguing that the underlying cause of this phenomenon may be within the telomerase RNA TLC1: changes in the expression of TLC1 as well as mutations in the TLC1 template region affect telomere length equilibrium and the temperature threshold for the induction of telomerase insufficiency. We discuss what lies at the root of telomerase insufficiency, how cell populations overcome it through aneuploidy and whether reversible aneuploidy could be an adaptation mechanism for a variety of environmental stresses.

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