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A self-regulating template in human telomerase

Description

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template sequence from the integral TR. The specific mechanism of how the telomerase active site uses this short template region accurately and efficiently during processive DNA repeat synthesis has remained elusive. Here we report that the human TR template, in addition to specifying the DNA sequence, is embedded with a single-nucleotide signal to pause DNA synthesis. After the addition of a dT residue to the DNA primer, which is specified by the 49 rA residue in the template, telomerase extends the DNA primer with three additional nucleotides and then pauses DNA synthesis. This sequence-defined pause site coincides precisely with the helix paired region 1 (P1)-defined physical template boundary and precludes the incorporation of nontelomeric nucleotides from residues outside the template region. Furthermore, this sequence-defined pausing mechanism is a key determinant, in addition to the P1-defined template boundary, for generating the characteristic 6-nt ladder banding pattern of telomeric DNA products in vitro. In the absence of the pausing signal, telomerase stalls nucleotide addition at multiple sites along the template, generating DNA products with heterogeneous terminal repeat registers. Our findings demonstrate that this unique self-regulating mechanism of the human TR template is essential for high-fidelity synthesis of DNA repeats.

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Date Created
  • 2014-08-05

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Characterization of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors that Regulate Human Telomerase Repeat Addition

Description

The linear chromosomes ends in eukaryotes are protected by telomeres, a nucleoprotein structure that contains telomeric DNA with repetitive sequence and associated proteins. Telomerase is an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that

The linear chromosomes ends in eukaryotes are protected by telomeres, a nucleoprotein structure that contains telomeric DNA with repetitive sequence and associated proteins. Telomerase is an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that adds telomeric DNA repeats to the 3'-ends of chromosomes to offset the loss of terminal DNA repeats during DNA replication. It consists of two core components: a telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and a telomerase RNA (TR). Telomerase uses a short sequence in its integral RNA component as template to add multiple DNA repeats in a processive manner. However, it remains unclear how the telomerase utilizes the short RNA template accurately and efficiently during DNA repeat synthesis. As previously reported human telomerase nucleotide synthesis arrests upon reaching the end of its RNA template by a unique template-embedded pause signal. In this study, I demonstrate pause signal remains active following template regeneration and inhibits the intrinsic processivity and rate of telomerase repeat addition. Furthermore, I have found that the human telomerase catalytic cycle comprises a crucial and slow incorporation of the first nucleotide after template translocation. This slow nucleotide incorporation step drastically limits repeat addition processivity and rate, which is alleviated with elevated concentrations of dGTP. Additionally, molecular mechanism of the disease mutants on telomerase specific motif T, K570N, have been explored. Finally, I studied how telomerase selective inhibitor BIBR 1532 reduce telomerase repeat addition processivity by function assay. Together, these results shed new light on telomerase catalytic cycle and the importance of telomerase for biomedicine.

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Date Created
  • 2018