Addition of telomere-associated HeT DNA sequences "heals" broken chromosome ends in Drosophila

Cell. 1990 May 18;61(4):663-73. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(90)90478-w.


Stocks of D. melanogaster X chromosomes carrying terminal deletions (RT chromosomes) have been maintained for several years. Some of the chromosomes are slowly losing DNA from the broken ends (as expected if replication is incomplete) and show no telomere-associated DNA added to the receding ends. Two stocks carry chromosomes that have become "healed" and are no longer losing DNA. In both stocks the broken chromosome end has acquired a segment of HeT DNA, a family of complex repeats found only at telomeres and in pericentric heterochromatin. Although the HeT family is complex, the HeT sequence joined to the broken chromosome end is the same in both stocks. In contrast, the two chromosomes are broken in different places and have no detectable sequence similarity at the junction with the new DNA. Sequence analysis suggests that the new telomere sequences have been added by a specific mechanism that does not involve homologous recombination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics*
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • X Chromosome / physiology
  • X Chromosome / ultrastructure*

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M36127
  • GENBANK/M36128