Telomeres, the natural ends of linear chromosomes, must be protected and completely replicated to guarantee genomic stability in eukaryotic cells. However, the protected state of telomeres is not compatible with recruitment of telomerase, an enzyme responsible for extending telomeric G-rich repeats during S-phase; thus, telomeres must undergo switches from a protected state to an accessible state during the cell cycle. In this minireview, we will summarize recent advances in our understanding of proteins involved in the protection and replication of telomeres, and the way these factors are dynamically recruited to telomeres during the cell cycle. We will focus mainly on recent results from fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and compare them with results from budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammalian cell studies. In addition, a model for the way in which fission yeast cells replicate telomeres will be presented.
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