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TER1, the RNA subunit of fission yeast telomerase

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology volume 15, pages 2633 (2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

Telomerase is the ribonucleoprotein complex that adds telomeric repeats to the ends of chromosomes. Its protein subunit TERT is highly conserved among eukaryotes, whereas the RNA subunit varies greatly in size and sequence, hindering the identification of telomerase RNAs in some important model organisms. Here we report the identification and functional characterization of TER1, the telomerase RNA component from fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Deletion of ter1+ caused progressive shortening of telomeres and cellular senescence followed by chromosome circularization. Interactions between Est1 and Trt1, the two known protein components of fission yeast telomerase, were dependent on TER1, supporting its role as a scaffold for the assembly of protein subunits. Using a series of template mutations, we show that translocation or dissociation site variability and template-primer slippage account for the sequence heterogeneity of fission yeast telomeres.

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Acknowledgements

We thank X. Wang for her help and advice, G. Zakian and C. Webb for their willingness to coordinate publication of similar, independently obtained results, J. Huberman (Roswell Park Cancer Institute) for plasmid pDblet, M. Cook and E. Glynn for computational help, D. Baumann, C. Haering, X. Wang and D. Zapulla for critical reading of the manuscript and the Stowers Institute Molecular Biology Facility staff for site-directed mutagenesis and sequencing. We also thank T. Cech, M. Blanchette and D. Zapulla for discussions. Work in our laboratory is supported by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award to P.B. (5-FY03-134) and the Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences.

Author information

Author notes

    • Jessica Leonardi

    Present address: Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Affiliations

  1. Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64110, USA.

    • Jessica Leonardi
    • , Jessica A Box
    • , Jeremy T Bunch
    •  & Peter Baumann
  2. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.

    • Peter Baumann

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Contributions

J.L. isolated and cloned the RNA subunit and performed immunoprecipitation and telomerase assays; J.A.B. contributed DNA constructs, fission yeast strains and telomere length analyses; J.T.B. generated northern blots and telomere sequence data; and P.B. designed the experiments and contributed RACE data, telomerase assays and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter Baumann.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nsmb1343

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