DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) pose a threat to genome stability and are repaired through multiple mechanisms. Rarely, telomerase, the enzyme that maintains telomeres, acts upon a DSB in a mutagenic process termed telomere healing. The probability of telomere addition is increased at specific genomic sequences termed sites of repair-associated telomere addition (SiRTAs). By monitoring repair of an induced DSB, we show that SiRTAs on chromosomes V and IX share a bipartite structure in which a core sequence (Core) is directly targeted by telomerase, while a proximal sequence (Stim) enhances the probability of de novo telomere formation. The Stim and Core sequences are sufficient to confer a high frequency of telomere addition to an ectopic site. Cdc13, a single-stranded DNA binding protein that recruits telomerase to endogenous telomeres, is known to stimulate de novo telomere addition when artificially recruited to an induced DSB. Here we show that the ability of the Stim sequence to enhance de novo telomere addition correlates with its ability to bind Cdc13, indicating that natural sites at which telomere addition occurs at high frequency require binding by Cdc13 to a sequence 20 to 100 bp internal from the site at which telomerase acts to initiate de novo telomere addition.
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