Continued cell proliferation requires telomerase to maintain functional telomeres that are essential for chromosome integrity. Although the core enzyme includes a telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and a telomerase RNA component (TERC), a number of auxiliary proteins have been identified to regulate telomerase assembly, localization, and enzymatic activity. Here we describe the characterization of the AAA-ATPase NVL2 as a novel hTERT-interacting protein. NVL2 interacts and co-localizes with hTERT in the nucleolus. NLV2 is also found in association with catalytically competent telomerase in cell lysates through an interaction with hTERT. Depletion of endogenous NVL2 by small interfering RNA led to a decrease in hTERT without affecting the steady-state levels of hTERT mRNA, thereby reducing telomerase activity, suggesting that NVL2 is an essential component of the telomerase holoenzyme. We also found that ATP-binding activity of NVL2 is required for hTERT binding as well as telomerase assembly. Our findings suggest that NVL2, in addition to its role in ribosome biosynthesis, is essential for telomerase biogenesis and provides an alternative approach for inhibiting telomerase activity in cancer.
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