On the molecular biology of telomeres: Lessons from budding yeast

Stinus Ruiz de Gauna, S., 2018, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 127 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Title and contents

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  • Chapter 1

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  • Chapter 2

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  • Chapter 3

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  • Chapter 4

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  • Chapter 5

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  • Complete thesis

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  • Sonia Stinus Ruiz de Gauna
DNA, the molecule that contains the genetic information encoding the characteristics of a given organism, is mostly confined within the nucleus of the cells that compose the organism. The telomeres are the physical ends of the DNA molecule and their function is to protect it. Telomerase is the protein in charge of the maintenance of telomeres. Telomere dysfunction has severe consequences for human health and is a hallmark of ageing and cancer. However, it is not yet well understood what minimally defines a telomere. Specifically, we used baker’s yeast to study how telomeres are distinguished from naturally occurring breaks within the DNA molecule. Telomeres and DNA breaks resemble each other but are processed differently: while telomeres are maintained by telomerase, DNA breaks are repaired by a set of specialized proteins. It is essential to distinguish between telomeres and DNA breaks, and failure to do so can have fatal consequences. We determined the minimum length of a telomere to still be sensed as such and the key protein, Cdc13, that sets this minimum length. We have also studied telomeric G-quadruplexes, structures that form within the telomere that are proposed to influence telomere biology. We have found that G-quadruplexes protect telomeres when other telomere protecting mechanisms (e.g. telomerase) are absent, but their role is not essential. Thus, we have determined that a minimum telomere length and the Cdc13 protein are essential features of telomeres, but G-quadruplexes are not.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date3-Dec-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-6380-078-5
Electronic ISBNs978-94-6380-075-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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