Tpz1-Ccq1 and Tpz1-Poz1 interactions within fission yeast shelterin modulate Ccq1 Thr93 phosphorylation and telomerase recruitment

PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct 16;10(10):e1004708. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004708. eCollection 2014 Oct.


In both fission yeast and humans, the shelterin complex plays central roles in regulation of telomerase recruitment, protection of telomeres against DNA damage response factors, and formation of heterochromatin at telomeres. While shelterin is essential for limiting activation of the DNA damage checkpoint kinases ATR and ATM at telomeres, these kinases are required for stable maintenance of telomeres. In fission yeast, Rad3ATR and Tel1ATM kinases are redundantly required for telomerase recruitment, since Rad3ATR/Tel1ATM-dependent phosphorylation of the shelterin subunit Ccq1 at Thr93 promotes interaction between Ccq1 and the telomerase subunit Est1. However, it remained unclear how protein-protein interactions within the shelterin complex (consisting of Taz1, Rap1, Poz1, Tpz1, Pot1 and Ccq1) contribute to the regulation of Ccq1 Thr93 phosphorylation and telomerase recruitment. In this study, we identify domains and amino acid residues that are critical for mediating Tpz1-Ccq1 and Tpz1-Poz1 interaction within the fission yeast shelterin complex. Using separation of function Tpz1 mutants that maintain Tpz1-Pot1 interaction but specifically disrupt either Tpz1-Ccq1 or Tpz1-Poz1 interaction, we then establish that Tpz1-Ccq1 interaction promotes Ccq1 Thr93 phosphorylation, telomerase recruitment, checkpoint inhibition and telomeric heterochromatin formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Tpz1-Poz1 interaction promotes telomere association of Poz1, and loss of Poz1 from telomeres leads to increases in Ccq1 Thr93 phosphorylation and telomerase recruitment, and telomeric heterochromatin formation defect. In addition, our studies establish that Tpz1-Poz1 and Tpz1-Ccq1 interactions redundantly fulfill the essential telomere protection function of the shelterin complex, since simultaneous loss of both interactions caused immediate loss of cell viability for the majority of cells and generation of survivors with circular chromosomes. Based on these findings, we suggest that the negative regulatory function of Tpz1-Poz1 interaction works upstream of Rad3ATR kinase, while Tpz1-Ccq1 interaction works downstream of Rad3ATR kinase to facilitate Ccq1 Thr93 phosphorylation and telomerase recruitment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Heterochromatin / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism*
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Threonine / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Ccq1 protein, S pombe
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Heterochromatin
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Poz1 protein, S pombe
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins
  • Tpz1 protein, S pombe
  • trt1 protein, S pombe
  • Threonine
  • Telomerase