Conservation of telomeric DNA repeat sequences has been found across evolutionarily diverse eukaryotes. Here we report on a marked telomeric sequence diversity within the budding yeast genus Saccharomyces. Cloning and sequencing of telomeric repeat units from S. castellii, S. dairensis, S. exiguus and S. kluyveri showed a length variation between 8 and 26 bp, as well as a distinct variation in the degree of homogeneity, among the species. In S. castellii and S. dairensis, TCTGGGTG constituted a majority of the telomeric repeat units.
At the core of Saccharomyces cerevisiae telomeres is an array of tandem telomeric DNA repeats bound site-specifically by multiple Rap1 molecules. There, Rap1 orchestrates the binding of additional telomere-associated proteins and negatively regulates both telomere fusion and length homeostasis. Using electron microscopy, viscosity, and light scattering measurements, we show that purified Rap1 is a monomer in solution that adopts a ringlike or C shape with a central cavity.