© 2015 Pan et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
The conserved shelterin complex is critical for chromosome capping and maintaining telomere length homeostasis. In fission yeast, shelterin is comprised of five proteins. Taz1, Rap1, and Poz1 function as negative regulators of telomere elongation, whereas Pot1 and Tpz1 are critical for end capping and telomerase recruitment. How the five proteins work together to safeguard chromosome ends and promote telomere length homeostasis is a matter of great interest. Using a combination of deletions, fusions, and tethers, we define key elements of shelterin important for telomere length regulation. Surprisingly, deletion of the entire Rap1 and Poz1 proteins does not impair telomere length regulation as long as a static bridge is provided between Taz1 and Tpz1. Cells harboring minishelterin display wild-type telomere length and intact subtelomeric silencing. However, protection against end fusions in G1 is compromised in the absence of Rap1. Our data reveal a remarkable plasticity in shelterin architecture and separate functions in length regulation and end protection.