It has been puzzling that mammalian telomeric proteins, including TRF1, TRF2, tankyrase, and TIN2 have no recognized orthologs in budding yeast. Here, we describe a human protein, hRap1, that is an ortholog of the yeast telomeric protein, scRap1p. hRap1 has three conserved sequence motifs in common with scRap1, is located at telomeres, and affects telomere length. However, while scRap1 binds telomeric DNA directly, hRap1 is recruited to telomeres by TRF2. Extending the comparison of telomeric proteins to fission yeast, we identify S. pombe Taz1 as a TRF ortholog, indicating that TRFs are conserved at eukaryotic telomeres. The data suggest that ancestral telomeres, like those of vertebrates, contained a TRF-like protein as well as Rap1. We propose that budding yeast preserved Rap1 at telomeres but lost the TRF component, possibly concomitant with a change in the telomeric repeat sequence.
Li, Bibo; Oestreich, Stephanie; and De Lange, Titia, "Identification of Human Rap1: Implications for Telomere Evolution" (2000). Biological, Geological, and Environmental Faculty Publications. 233.