Assessing telomeric phenotypes

Methods Mol Biol. 2006;313:265-316. doi: 10.1385/1-59259-958-3:265.


The concept of telomeres as being the end-part of eukaryotic chromosomes was first described by H. J. Muller and B. McClintock. Their pioneering work opened the path for multiple new researches and assays on a thrilling subject, with implications for various domains such as aging, replication, immortality, and cancer. Yeast has been a model of choice to study telomere length, senescence, telomerase activity, telomere cloning, and sequencing with important new techniques being discovered in this species and adapted afterward for other organisms. The main functions of telomeres include the protection of the genome from deletions, recombination, and degradation, and they are therefore essential for genome stability. Their maintenance is assured by a specific enzyme (telomerase) and it is of vital interest for the organism to maintain their length and specific structure. Multiple assays have been described to analyze telomere length and for yeast, Southern blot analysis of terminal restriction fragments (TRFs) remains one of the most popular ones to get a global picture of the state of telomeres in a given experimental setting. However, growth phenotypes (senescence) and fine-structure analyses of the chromosome terminal DNA are also becoming increasingly important.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Gene Silencing
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycology / methods
  • Phenotype
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • DNA, Fungal