, Volume 247, Issue 5, pp 633-638

Organization of telomeric and subtelomeric chromatin in the higher plant Nicotiana tabacum

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Abstract

We have examined the structure and chromatin organization of telomeres in Nicotiana tabacum. In tobacco the blocks of simple telomeric repeats (TTTAGGG)n are many times larger than in other plants, e.g., Arabidopsis thatiana or tomato. They are resolved as multiple fragments 60–160 kb in size (in most cases 90–130 kb) on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of restriction endonuclease-digested DNA. The major subtelomeric repeat of the HRS60 family forms large homogeneous blocks of a basic 180 by motif having comparable lengths. Micrococcal nuclease (MNase) cleaves tobacco telomeric chromatin into subunits with a short repeat length of 157±5 bp; the subtelomeric heterochromatin characterized by tandemly repeated sequences of the HRS60 family is cut by MNase with a 180 by periodicity. The monomeric and dimeric particles of telomeric and subtelomeric chromatin differ in sensitivity to MNase treatment: the telomeric particles are readily digested, producing ladders with a periodicity of 7 bp, while the subtelomeric particles appear to be rather resistant to intranucleosomal cleavage. The results presented show apparent similarities in the organization of telomeric chromatin in higher plants and mammals.

Communicated by H. Saedler