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Title: RNA/DNA hybrid binding affinity determines telomerase template-translocation efficiency: Telomerase template translocation mechanism
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The EMBO Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
150 to 161
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Telomerase synthesizes chromosome-capping telomeric repeats using an active site in telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and an integral RNA subunit template. The fundamental question of whether human telomerase catalytic activity requires cooperation across two TERT subunits remains under debate. In this study, we describe new approaches of subunit labeling for single-molecule imaging, applied to determine the TERT content of complexes assembled in cells or cell extract. Surprisingly, telomerase reconstitutions yielded heterogeneous DNA-bound TERT monomer and dimer complexes in relative amounts that varied with assembly and purification method. Among the complexes, cellular holoenzyme and minimal recombinant enzyme monomeric for TERT had catalytic activity. Dimerization was suppressed by removing a TERT domain linker with atypical sequence bias, which did not inhibit cellular or minimal enzyme assembly or activity. Overall, this work defines human telomerase DNA binding and synthesis properties at single-molecule level and establishes conserved telomerase subunit architecture from single-celled organisms to humans.

  2. Abstract The enormous sequence heterogeneity of telomerase RNA (TR) subunits has thus far complicated their characterization in a wider phylogenetic range. Our recent finding that land plant TRs are, similarly to known ciliate TRs, transcribed by RNA polymerase III and under the control of the type-3 promoter, allowed us to design a novel strategy to characterize TRs in early diverging Viridiplantae taxa, as well as in ciliates and other Diaphoretickes lineages. Starting with the characterization of the upstream sequence element of the type 3 promoter that is conserved in a number of small nuclear RNAs, and the expected minimum TR template region as search features, we identified candidate TRs in selected Diaphoretickes genomes. Homologous TRs were then used to build covariance models to identify TRs in more distant species. Transcripts of the identified TRs were confirmed by transcriptomic data, RT-PCR and Northern hybridization. A templating role for one of our candidates was validated in Physcomitrium patens. Analysis of secondary structure demonstrated a deep conservation of motifs (pseudoknot and template boundary element) observed in all published TRs. These results elucidate the evolution of the earliest eukaryotic TRs, linking the common origin of TRs across Diaphoretickes, and underlying evolutionary transitions in telomeremore »repeats.« less