Telomerase RNA stem terminus element affects template boundary element function, telomere sequence, and shelterin binding

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 8;112(36):11312-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1503157112. Epub 2015 Aug 24.


The stem terminus element (STE), which was discovered 13 y ago in human telomerase RNA, is required for telomerase activity, yet its mode of action is unknown. We report that the Schizosaccharomyces pombe telomerase RNA, TER1 (telomerase RNA 1), also contains a STE, which is essential for telomere maintenance. Cells expressing a partial loss-of-function TER1 STE allele maintained short stable telomeres by a recombination-independent mechanism. Remarkably, the mutant telomere sequence was different from that of wild-type cells. Generation of the altered sequence is explained by reverse transcription into the template boundary element, demonstrating that the STE helps maintain template boundary element function. The altered telomeres bound less Pot1 (protection of telomeres 1) and Taz1 (telomere-associated in Schizosaccharomyces pombe 1) in vivo. Thus, the S. pombe STE, although distant from the template, ensures proper telomere sequence, which in turn promotes proper assembly of the shelterin complex.

Keywords: Pot1; Taz1; stem terminus element; telomerase RNA; telomere repeat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy-Related Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Insulator Elements / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Ribonucleic Acid / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcription
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Autophagy-Related Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Regulatory Sequences, Ribonucleic Acid
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins
  • Ter1 telomerase subunit, S pombe
  • Transcription Factors
  • atg11 protein, S pombe
  • RNA
  • Telomerase