Telomere Science Library

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about the Nobel-Prize Winning Science of Telomere Biology

Telomere maintenance through recruitment of internal genomic regions.

Authors: Beomseok B. Seo, Chuna C. Kim, Mark M. Hills, Sanghyun S. Sung, Hyesook H. Kim, Eunkyeong E. Kim, Daisy S DS. Lim, Hyun-Seok HS. Oh, Rachael Mi Jung RM. Choi, Jongsik J. Chun, Jaegal J. Shim, Junho J. Lee
Published: 09/18/2015, Nature communications


Cells surviving crisis are often tumorigenic and their telomeres are commonly maintained through the reactivation of telomerase. However, surviving cells occasionally activate a recombination-based mechanism called alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). Here we establish stably maintained survivors in telomerase-deleted Caenorhabditis elegans that escape from sterility by activating ALT. ALT survivors trans-duplicate an internal genomic region, which is already cis-duplicated to chromosome ends, across the telomeres of all chromosomes. These 'Template for ALT' (TALT) regions consist of a block of genomic DNA flanked by telomere-like sequences, and are different between two genetic background. We establish a model that an ancestral duplication of a donor TALT region to a proximal telomere region forms a genomic reservoir ready to be incorporated into telomeres on ALT activation.

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