Vertebrate-like T2AG3 telomeres in tlc1-h yeast consist of short double-stranded regions and long single-stranded overhang (G-tails) and, although based on Tbf1-capping activity, they are capping deficient. Consistent with this idea, we observe Y' amplification because of homologous recombination, even in the presence of an active telomerase. In these cells, Y' amplification occurs by different pathways: in Tel1+ tlc1h cells, it is Rad51-dependent, whereas in the absence of Tel1, it depends on Rad50. Generation of telomeric G-tail, which is cell cycle regulated, depends on the MRX (Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2) complex in tlc1h cells or is MRX-independent in tlc1h tel1Δ mutants. Unexpectedly, we observe telomere elongation in tlc1h lacking Rad51 that seems to act as a telomerase competitor for binding to telomeric G-tails. Overall, our results show that Tel1 and Rad51 have multiple roles in the maintenance of vertebrate-like telomeres in yeast, supporting the idea that they may participate to evolutionary conserved telomere protection mechanism/s acting at uncapped telomeres.
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