Telomeres are the physical ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. They are important for maintaining the integrity of chromosomes and this function is mediated through a number of protein factors. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cdc13p binds to telomeres and affects telomere maintenance, telomere position effects and cell cycle progression through G(2)/M phase. We identified four genes encoding Pol1p, Sir4p, Zds2p and Imp4p that interact with amino acids 1-252 of Cdc13p using a yeast two-hybrid screening system. Interactions of these four proteins with Cdc13p were through direct protein-protein interactions as judged by in vitro pull-down assays. Direct protein-protein interactions were also observed between Pol1p-Imp4p, Pol1p-Sir4p and Sir4p-Zds2p, whereas no interaction was detected between Imp4p-Sir4p and Zds2p-Imp4p, suggesting that protein interactions were specific in the complex. Pol1p was shown to interact with Cdc13p. Here we show that Zds2p and Imp4p also form a stable complex with Cdc13p in yeast cells, because Zds2p and Imp4p co-immunoprecipitate with Cdc13p, whereas Sir4p does not. The function of the N-terminal 1-252 region of Cdc13p was also analyzed. Expressing Cdc13(252-924)p, which lacks amino acids 1-252 of Cdc13p, causes defects in progressive cell growth and eventually arrested in the G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle. These growth defects were not caused by progressive shortening of telomeres because telomeres in these cells were long. Point mutants in the amino acids 1-252 region of Cdc13p that reduced the interaction between Cdc13p and its binding proteins resulted in varying level of defects in cell growth and telomeres. These results indicate that the interactions between Cdc13(1-252)p and its binding proteins are important for the function of Cdc13p in telomere regulation and cell growth. Together, our results provide evidence for the formation of a Cdc13p-mediated telosome complex through its N-terminal region that is involved in telomere maintenance, telomere length regulation and cell growth control.
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