Repair of DNA damage is essential for the maintenance of the integrity and transmission of the genome in development and reproduction. Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures which protect the ends of (linear) eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomere dysfunction results in loss of this protection and the telomeres being recognised as DNA damage by the cellular DNA Damage Repair and Response (DDR) machinery, leading to senescence or cell death. Telomeric homeostasis is thus tightly controlled and many specific and non-specific proteins are involved in its regulation. Among these, DNA damage and Repair proteins contribute both to the recognition of telomere dysfunction and more surprisingly, are directly implicated in telomere homeostasis itself. Plants offer a great opportunity to study these mechanisms due to the fact that many key DNA repair and recombination proteins are non-essential in plants, in contrast to vertebrates. In the following text, after a brief summary of the current state of knowledge on telomere-specific proteins in plants, we review the DDR processes and the related proteins implicated in plant telomere stability. We focus specifically on telomere signalling and on recombination events induced by unprotected telomeres, at the origin of genome rearrangements and instability when telomere function is affected.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana, DDR, HR, NHEJ, recombination, signalling, telomere, cell integrity, cell transmission, cell signalling, telomere dysfunction, genome rearrangment, linear chromosome, telomeric proteins, successive mutation, Arabidopsis thaliana.
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