Plasticity of telomere maintenance mechanisms in yeast
Telomeres, the nucleoprotein structures located at linear eukaryotic chromosomal termini, are essential for chromosome stability and are maintained by the special reverse transcriptase named telomerase. In the Saccharomycotina subphylum of budding yeast, telomere repeat sequences and binding factors, as well as telomerase components, are exceptionally diverse and distinct from those found in other eukaryotes. In this survey, I report a comparative analysis of the domain structures of telomere and telomerase-related factors made possible by the recent sequencing of multiple yeast genomes. This analysis revealed both conserved and variable aspects of telomere maintenance. Based on these findings, I propose a plausible series of evolutionary events in budding yeast to account for its exceptional telomere structural divergence.