As described in the discussion of Sir proteins in the Yeast Telomere Protein Components section, yeast telomeres can serve as a reservoir of proteins that can act at other chromosomal loci. One of the clearest demonstrations of this phenomenon is the role of silencing proteins in yeast replicative aging. As described in other chapters of this volume, yeast replicative aging is a measure of the number of times a cell can divide or bud before it dies. Work by Guarente, Sinclair and colleagues has illustrated how one cause of yeast aging, the production of extrachromosomal rDNA circles, is related to telomeres acting as a reservoir of silencing proteins for use in other cellular functions. Understanding this example requires understanding the basics of silencing in yeast.
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