© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
Typical telomeres of linear chromosomes and plasmids of soil bacteria Streptomyces consist of tightly packed palindromic sequences with a terminal protein ('TP') covalently attached to the 5' end of the DNA. Replication of these linear replicons is initiated internally and proceeds bidirectionally toward the telomeres, which leaves single-strand overhangs at the 3' ends. These overhangs are filled by DNA synthesis using the TPs as the primers ('end patching'). The gene encoding for typical TP, tpg, forms an operon with tap, encoding an essential telomere-associated protein, which binds TP and the secondary structures formed by the 3' overhangs. Previously one of the two translesion synthesis DNA polymerases, DinB1 or DinB2, was proposed to catalyze the protein-primed synthesis. However, using an in vitro end-patching system, we discovered that Tpg and Tap alone could carry out the protein-primed synthesis to a length of 13 nt. Similarly, an 'atypical' terminal protein, Tpc, and its cognate telomere-associated protein, Tac, of SCP1 plasmid, were sufficient to achieve protein-primed synthesis in the absence of additional polymerase. These results indicate that these two telomere-associated proteins possess polymerase activities alone or in complex with the cognate TPs.