[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telomerase, the enzyme that extends single-stranded telomeric DNA, consists of an RNA subunit (TER) including a short template sequence, a catalytic protein (TERT) and accessory proteins. We used site-specific UV cross-linking to map the binding sites for DNA primers in TER within active Tetrahymena telomerase holoenzyme complexes. The mapping was performed at single-nucleotide resolution by a novel technique based on RNase H digestion of RNA-DNA hybrids made with overlapping complementary oligodeoxynucleotides. These data allowed tracing of the DNA path through the telomerase complexes from the template to the TERT binding element (TBE) region of TER. TBE is known to bind TERT and to be involved in the template 5'-boundary definition. Based on these findings, we propose that upstream sequences of each growing telomeric DNA chain are involved in regulation of its growth arrest at the 5'-end of the RNA template. The upstream DNA-TBE interaction may also function as an anchor for the subsequent realignment of the 3'-end of the DNA with the 3'-end of the template to enable initiation of synthesis of a new telomeric repeat.
Nucleic Acids Research 05/2012; 40(15):7430-41. DOI:10.1093/nar/gks416 · 9.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Tetrahymena telomerase holoenzyme consists of a major catalytic protein [telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)], an RNA subunit, and accessory proteins. We used site-specific UV cross-linking and mass spectrometry to map interactions between the holoenzyme and the telomeric DNA. In one series of experiments, an oligodeoxyribonucleotide containing a 5-iododeoxyuridine residue or 4-thio-deoxythymidine residue was cross-linked to the telomerase by irradiation with UV light-emitting diodes. The DNA was extended by the cross-linked enzyme with a radioactively labeled or unlabeled nucleotide. The complexes were subsequently resolved by SDS-PAGE. Proteins were isolated from strips in the unlabeled gels corresponding to bands observed in the radioactive gels. Mass spectrometric analysis of these proteins revealed a major cross-linking site in TERT. Serendipitous cleavage of TERT near amino acid 254 indicated that this site maps within the N-terminal cleavage product, which includes primarily the telomerase essential N-terminal (TEN) domain. Moreover, the absence of this N-terminal segment in TERT was found to cause a reduction in DNA binding by the telomerase and/or its activity to undetectable levels. In other experiments, similar unresolved cross-linked complexes were digested with trypsin, two exonucleases, and alkaline phosphatase. Tandem mass spectrometry was then used to search for peptides linked to the residual deoxyribonucleoside. Using this approach, we identified the phenylalanine residue F351 in the accessory protein p45 as a minor DNA cross-linking site. Our study constitutes the first direct mapping of DNA interaction sites in telomerase holoenzyme complexes. This mapping represents a significant contribution to the understanding of the mechanism of telomere extension by telomerase.