Elongation of a short telomere depends on the action of multiple telomerase molecules, which are visible as telomerase RNA foci or clusters associated with telomeres in yeast and mammalian cells. How several telomerase molecules act on a single short telomere is unknown. Herein, we report that the telomeric noncoding RNA TERRA is involved in the nucleation of telomerase molecules into clusters prior to their recruitment at a short telomere. We find that telomere shortening induces TERRA expression, leading to the accumulation of TERRA molecules into a nuclear focus. Simultaneous time-lapse imaging of telomerase RNA and TERRA reveals spontaneous events of telomerase nucleation on TERRA foci in early S phase, generating TERRA-telomerase clusters. This cluster is subsequently recruited to the short telomere from which TERRA transcripts originate during S phase. We propose that telomere shortening induces noncoding RNA expression to coordinate the recruitment and activity of telomerase molecules at short telomeres.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.