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Dorothy Shippen

Shippen, Dorothy
Dorothy Shippen
University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
BioBio / Room 413A
Undergraduate Education
B.S. Auburn University (1982)
Graduate Education
Ph.D. University of Alabama, Birmingham (1987)
Postdoc. University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco (1987-91)
Joined Texas A&M in 1991

Telomere Biology

We are taking biochemical, molecular genetic and cytological approaches to study the structure, function and maintenance of telomeres. Telomeres are higher order nucleoprotein complexes that cap the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes and play essential roles in conferring genome stability and cell proliferation capacity. The protective cap of the telomere is comprised of specific telomere binding proteins that regulate the length of telomeric DNA tract and allow the cell distinguish the chromosome terminus from a double-strand break. Telomeric DNA is synthesized by the action of telomerase, an unusual reverse transcriptase that replenishes telomeric DNA lost as a consequence of replication by conventional DNA polymerases. We have developed the genetically tractable flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system for studying telomeres in higher eukaryotes. With its sequenced genome, abundant genetic and transgenic tools, and extraordinarily high tolerance to genome instability, Arabidopsis has proven to be an excellent model for investigating fundamental processes in telomere biology. Current studies focus on defining the function and molecular evolution of telomere capping proteins and components of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex.

Recent Publications

  1. Aklilu, BB, Peurois, F, Saintomé, C, Culligan, KM, Kobbe, D, Leasure, C et al.. Functional Diversification of Replication Protein A Paralogs and Telomere Length Maintenance in Arabidopsis. Genetics. 2020; :.
    doi: 10.1534/genetics.120.303222. PubMed PMID:32532801. .

  2. Montgomery, SA, Tanizawa, Y, Galik, B, Wang, N, Ito, T, Mochizuki, T et al.. Chromatin Organization in Early Land Plants Reveals an Ancestral Association between H3K27me3, Transposons, and Constitutive Heterochromatin. Curr. Biol. 2020;30 (4):573-588.e7.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.015. PubMed PMID:32004456. PubMed Central PMC7209395.

  3. Abdulkina, LR, Kobayashi, C, Lovell, JT, Chastukhina, IB, Aklilu, BB, Agabekian, IA et al.. Components of the ribosome biogenesis pathway underlie establishment of telomere length set point in Arabidopsis. Nat Commun. 2019;10 (1):5479.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13448-z. PubMed PMID:31792215. PubMed Central PMC6889149.

  4. Song, J, Logeswaran, D, Castillo-González, C, Li, Y, Bose, S, Aklilu, BB et al.. The conserved structure of plant telomerase RNA provides the missing link for an evolutionary pathway from ciliates to humans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019;116 (49):24542-24550.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1915312116. PubMed PMID:31754031. PubMed Central PMC6900512.

  5. Barbero Barcenilla, B, Shippen, DE. Back to the future: The intimate and evolving connection between telomere-related factors and genotoxic stress. J. Biol. Chem. 2019;294 (40):14803-14813.
    doi: 10.1074/jbc.AW119.008145. PubMed PMID:31434740. PubMed Central PMC6779425.

  6. Kobayashi, CR, Castillo-González, C, Survotseva, Y, Canal, E, Nelson, ADL, Shippen, DE et al.. Recent emergence and extinction of the protection of telomeres 1c gene in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell Rep. 2019;38 (9):1081-1097.
    doi: 10.1007/s00299-019-02427-9. PubMed PMID:31134349. PubMed Central PMC6708462.

  7. Xie, X, Shippen, DE. DDM1 guards against telomere truncation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell Rep. 2018;37 (3):501-513.
    doi: 10.1007/s00299-017-2245-6. PubMed PMID:29392401. PubMed Central PMC5880217.

  8. Arora, A, Beilstein, MA, Shippen, DE. Evolution of Arabidopsis protection of telomeres 1 alters nucleic acid recognition and telomerase regulation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016;44 (20):9821-9830.
    doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw807. PubMed PMID:27651456. PubMed Central PMC5175356.

  9. Lee, JR, Xie, X, Yang, K, Zhang, J, Lee, SY, Shippen, DE et al.. Dynamic Interactions of Arabidopsis TEN1: Stabilizing Telomeres in Response to Heat Stress. Plant Cell. 2016;28 (9):2212-2224.
    doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00408. PubMed PMID:27609839. PubMed Central PMC5059806.

  10. Nelson, AD, Shippen, DE. Evolution of TERT-interacting lncRNAs: expanding the regulatory landscape of telomerase. Front Genet. 2015;6 :277.
    doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00277. PubMed PMID:26442096. PubMed Central PMC4564757.

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