Abnormal micronuclear telomeres lead to an unusual cell cycle checkpoint and defects in Tetrahymena oral morphogenesis.

Academic Article


  • Telomere mutants have been well studied with respect to telomerase and the role of telomere binding proteins, but they have not been used to explore how a downstream morphogenic event is related to the mutated telomeric DNA. We report that alterations at the telomeres can have profound consequences on organellar morphogenesis. Specifically, a telomerase RNA mutation termed ter1-43AA results in the loss of germ line micronuclear telomeres in the binucleate protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila. These cells also display a micronuclear mitotic arrest, characterized by an extreme delay in anaphase with an elongated, condensed chromatin and a mitotic spindle apparatus. This anaphase defect suggests telomere fusions and consequently a spindle rather than a DNA damage checkpoint. Most surprisingly, these mutants exhibit unique, dramatic defects in the formation of the cell's oral apparatus. We suggest that micronuclear telomere loss leads to a "dynamic pause" in the program of cortical development, which may reveal an unusual cell cycle checkpoint.
  • Authors

    Published In


  • Animals, Cell Cycle, Micronucleus, Germline, Morphogenesis, Mouth, Telomere, Tetrahymena
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kirk KE; Christ C; McGuire JM; Paul AG; Vahedi M; Stuart KR; Cole ES
  • Start Page

  • 1712
  • End Page

  • 1723
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 10