A flexible template boundary element in the RNA subunit of fission yeast telomerase

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Jessica A BoxPeter Baumann

Abstract

Telomerase adds telomeric repeat sequences to chromosome ends using a short region of its RNA subunit as a template. Telomerase RNA subunits are phylogenetically highly divergent, and different strategies have evolved to demarcate the boundary of the template region. The recent identification of the gene encoding telomerase RNA in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (ter1+) has opened the door for structure-function analyses in a model that shares many features with the telomere maintenance machinery of higher eukaryotes. Here we describe a structural element in TER1 that defines the 5' boundary of the template. Disruption of a predicted long range base pairing interaction between template-adjacent nucleotides and a sequence further upstream resulted in reverse transcription beyond the template region and caused telomere shortening. Normal telomere length was restored by combining complementary nucleotide substitutions in both elements, showing that base pairing, not a specific sequence, limits reverse transcription beyond the template. The template boundary described here resembles that of budding yeasts and some mammalian telomerases. However, unlike any previously characterized boundary element, part of the paired re...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Ter1 telomerase subunit, S pombe
DNA Helix Destabilizing Proteins
DNA, Fungal
Phylogeny
Selfish DNA
RNA
RNA, Fungal
Schizosaccharomyces pombe
Structure-Activity Relationship
Telomere

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