Sequence comparison of human and yeast telomeres identifies structurally distinct subtelomeric domains.
Flint J., Bates GP., Clark K., Dorman A., Willingham D., Roe BA., Micklem G., Higgs DR., Louis EJ.
We have sequenced and compared DNA from the ends of three human chromosomes: 4p, 16p and 22q. In all cases the pro-terminal regions are subdivided by degenerate (TTAGGG)n repeats into distal and proximal sub-domains with entirely different patterns of homology to other chromosome ends. The distal regions contain numerous, short (<2 kb) segments of interrupted homology to many other human telomeric regions. The proximal regions show much longer (approximately 10-40 kb) uninterrupted homology to a few chromosome ends. A comparison of all yeast subtelomeric regions indicates that they too are subdivided by degenerate TTAGGG repeats into distal and proximal sub-domains with similarly different patterns of identity to other non-homologous chromosome ends. Sequence comparisons indicate that the distal and proximal sub-domains do not interact with each other and that they interact quite differently with the corresponding regions on other, non-homologous, chromosomes. These findings suggest that the degenerate TTAGGG repeats identify a previously unrecognized, evolutionarily conserved boundary between remarkably different subtelomeric domains.