The Viral Origins of Telomeres and Telomerases and their Important Role in Eukaryogenesis and Genome Maintenance

  title={The Viral Origins of Telomeres and Telomerases and their Important Role in Eukaryogenesis and Genome Maintenance},
  author={Guenther Witzany},
Whereas telomeres protect terminal ends of linear chromosomes, telomerases identify natural chromosome ends, which differ from broken DNA and replicate telomeres. Although telomeres play a crucial role in the linear chromosome organization of eukaryotic cells, their molecular syntax most probably descended from an ancient retroviral competence. This indicates an early retroviral colonization of large double-stranded DNA viruses, which are putative ancestors of the eukaryotic nucleus. This… 
This review covers recent advances in the field including the use of telomerase in Cancer, ageing and heart diseases.
Mobile DNA Elements: The Seeds of Organic Complexity on Earth.
This work attempts to introduce TEs as factors necessary for making us human rather than just selfish sequences or obligatory guests invading the authors' DNA.
Noncoding RNAs: Persistent Viral Agents as Modular Tools for Cellular Needs
  • G. Witzany
  • Biology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2009
It appears that all the detailed steps of evolution stored in DNA that are read, transcribed, and translated in every developmental and growth process of each individual cell depend on RNA‐mediated
Natural Genome Editing from a Biocommunicative Perspective
The hypothesis that viruses and viral-like agents edit genetic code is developed according to three well investigated examples in which non-lytic viral swarms act symbiotically in a persistent lifestyle within cellular host genomes: origin of eukaryotic nucleus, adaptive immunity, placental mammals.
Real Life-World of Noncoding RNA-Species
It is found that the number of genes of some nematodes and humans was similar but their regulation was completely different, and the evolutionary origins of these non-coding RNAs are not randomly-derived mixtures of nucleotide acids but formerly intact viral agents which infected all cellular host genomes in a non-lytic but persistent way.
That is life: communicating RNA networks from viruses and cells in continuous interaction
A 21st century understanding of life is of an inherently social process based on communicating RNA networks, in which viruses and cells continuously interact, and RNA networks and RNA communication can interconnect these levels.
Viruses and cells intertwined since the dawn of evolution
The aim within this work was to show that there are different perceptions of viruses and many concepts to explain their emergence: the virus-first concept, the escape and the reduction theories, and a relatively new concept of polyphyletic virus origin called “three RNA cells, three DNA viruses” described herein.
Comprehensive analysis of structural genomic alterations in cancer
massive amounts of genomic and transcriptomic sequencing data allowed us to comprehensively map viral integrations and structural variations in cancer, which led to the identification of several genes with potential roles in tumor development.
The agents of natural genome editing.
As code editing agents, viral and subviral agents have been suggested because there are several indicators that demonstrate viruses competent in both RNA and DNA natural genome editing.


On the origin of telomeres: a glimpse at the pre-telomerase world.
It is suggested that the primordial terminal structures (telomeres) of linear chromosomes in eukaryotic nuclei were derived from selfish element(s), which caused the linearization of ancestral circular genome and the telomeres were then essential in solving the emerged problems.
Reverse transcriptase can stabilize or destabilize the genome.
Key aspects of RT usage during retrotransposition and telomere elongation are discussed, both for its important role in converting RNA genomes to DNA, which has great evolutionary impact, and as a therapeutic target in human retroviral diseases.
Hairpin telomeres and genome plasticity in Borrelia: all mixed up in the end
Infrequent stabilization of such fusion events over evolutionary time provides the first proposed biochemical mechanism for the DNA rearrangements that are so prominent in the linear replicons of B. burgdorferi.
Telomere elongation is under the control of the RNAi-based mechanism in the Drosophila germline.
The RNA interference machinery is implicate in the control of Drosophila telomere length in ovaries and enhanced frequency of TART, but not HeT-A, attachments in individuals carrying one dose of mutant spn-E or aub alleles suggests that TART is a primary target of the RNAi machinery.
The genomic tag hypothesis: modern viruses as molecular fossils of ancient strategies for genomic replication, and clues regarding the origin of protein synthesis.
Although tRNA is best known as a component of the translation apparatus, tRNA and tRNA-like molecules also play key roles-either as template or as primer-in a wide variety of replicative processes.
Natural Genome-Editing Competences of Viruses
It is argued that non-randomly derived natural genome editing can be envisioned as (a) combinatorial (syntactic), (b) context-specific (pragmatic) and (c) content-sensitive (semantic) competences of viral agents which could explain the emergence of complex new phenotypes in single evolutionary events.
Gag proteins of the two Drosophila telomeric retrotransposons are targeted to chromosome ends
The results suggest that these Gag proteins are capable of delivering the retrotransposons to telomeres, although TART requires assistance from HeT-A, which implies a symbiotic relationship between the two elements.
Centromeres were derived from telomeres during the evolution of the eukaryotic chromosome
The centromere is the DNA region of the eukaryotic chromosome that determines kinetochore formation and sister chromatid cohesion and is inseparable from the evolution of cytoskeletal components that distribute chromosomes to offspring cells.
Three RNA cells for ribosomal lineages and three DNA viruses to replicate their genomes: a hypothesis for the origin of cellular domain.
  • P. Forterre
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2006
This work explores the possibility that three such independent transfers were at the origin of Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya, respectively, and explains why each domain has its specific DNA replication apparatus.