Live cell imaging of telomerase RNA dynamics reveals cell cycle-dependent clustering of telomerase at elongating telomeres

Mol Cell. 2011 Dec 9;44(5):819-27. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.09.020.


The telomerase, which is composed of both protein and RNA, maintains genome stability by replenishing telomeric repeats at the ends of chromosomes. Here, we use live-cell imaging to follow yeast telomerase RNA dynamics and recruitment to telomeres in single cells. Tracking of single telomerase particles revealed a diffusive behavior and transient association with telomeres in G1 and G2 phases of the cell cycle. Interestingly, concurrent with telomere elongation in late S phase, a subset of telomerase enzyme clusters and stably associates with few telomeres. Our data show that this clustering represents elongating telomerase and it depends on regulators of telomerase at telomeres (MRX, Tel1, Rif1/2, and Cdc13). Furthermore, the assay revealed premature telomere elongation in G1 in a rif1/2 strains, suggesting that Rif1/2 act as cell-cycle dependent negative regulators of telomerase. We propose that telomere elongation is organized around a local and transient accumulation of several telomerases on a few telomeres.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Survival
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • RNA / analysis
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Telomerase / analysis
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere / chemistry
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Thermodynamics


  • telomerase RNA
  • RNA
  • Telomerase