Human telomerance RNA template sequence is a determinant of telomere repeat extension rate

William C. Drosopoulos, Roberto DiRenzo, Vinayaka R. Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Human telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase that utilizes an integral RNA subunit to template the synthesis of telomeres. In the present study, we demonstrate that the human telomerase template sequence not only determines the composition, but also the rate of synthesis, of telomere repeats. Mutagenesis of the template sequence identified variants that reconstitute enzymes with repeat extension rates that were either faster or slower than wild type template. Changes in extension rate could not be attributed solely to altered heteroduplex melting, strongly suggesting that specific interactions between telomerase template, protein, and products contribute significantly in determining repeat extension rate. Furthermore, some substitutions that had no effect on extension rate led to striking increases in repeat processivity, indicating that processivity and extension rates can be regulated independently of each other. Our results suggest that telomerase RNA template sequence is a key determinant of the contribution of telomerase to telomere length regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32801-32810
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 23 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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