The telomere repeat motif of basal Metazoa

Walther Traut*, Monika Szczepanowski, Magda Vítková, Christian Opitz, František Marec, Jan Zrzavý

*Corresponding author for this work
55 Citations (Scopus)


In most eukaryotes the telomeres consist of short DNA tandem repeats and associated proteins. Telomeric repeats are added to the chromosome ends by telomerase, a specialized reverse transcriptase. We examined telomerase activity and telomere repeat sequences in representatives of basal metazoan groups. Our results show that the 'vertebrate' telomere motif (TTAGGG) n is present in all basal metazoan groups, i.e. sponges, Cnidaria, Ctenophora, and Placozoa, and also in the unicellular metazoan sister group, the Choanozoa. Thus it can be considered the ancestral telomere repeat motif of Metazoa. It has been conserved from the metazoan radiation in most animal phylogenetic lineages, and replaced by other motifs-according to our present knowledge-only in two major lineages, Arthropoda and Nematoda.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChromosome Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)371-382
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2007


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