We have cloned and characterized the rat telomerase protein component 1 gene (TLP1), which is related to the gene for Tetrahymena p80. The cDNA encodes a 2629 amino acid sequence and produces the TLP1 proteins p240 and p230. The anti-TLP1 antibody specifically immunoprecipitated the telomerase activity. Moreover, p240 and p230 were copurified with telomerase activity in a series of extensive purification experiments. These results strongly suggest that the TLP1 proteins are components of, or are closely associated with, the rat telomerase. A pulse-chase experiment showed that p240 is modified to p230 in vivo. p230 was the dominant form in telomerase-positive cells, suggesting that modification of the TLP1 protein may regulate telomerase activity in vivo.