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Open Access Research

The Putzig partners DREF, TRF2 and KEN are involved in the regulation of the Drosophila telomere retrotransposons, HeT-A and TART

Rute Silva-Sousa, Míriam Díaz Varela and Elena Casacuberta*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Passeig de la Barceloneta, 37-49, Barcelona 08003, Spain

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Mobile DNA 2013, 4:18  doi:10.1186/1759-8753-4-18

Published: 3 July 2013

Abstract

Background

Telomere maintenance in Drosophila relies on the targeted transposition of three very special non-LTR retrotransposons, HeT-A, TART, and TAHRE (HTT). The sequences of the retrotransposon array build up the telomere chromatin in this organism. We have recently reported the role of the chromosomal protein Putzig/Z4 in maintaining a proper chromatin structure at the telomere domain of Drosophila. Because the Putzig protein has been found in different cellular complexes related with cell proliferation, development, and immunity, we decided to investigate whether the previously described Putzig partners, DREF/TRF2 and KEN, could also be involved in the telomere function in this organism.

Results

We have found that mutant alleles for Dref/Trf2 and Ken show alterations in HeT-A and TART expression, suggesting a possible role of these protein complexes in the regulation of the telomere retrotransposons. In agreement, both HeT-A and TART contain the specific DNA binding sequences for the DREF and the KEN protein proteins.

Conclusions

We have identified three new negative regulators involved in the control of the expression of the telomeric retrotransposons, Dref, Trf2, and Ken. Our results offer some clues on which other chromatin-related proteins might be involved in telomere regulation and retrotransposon control.