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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Functional multimerization of human telomerase requires an RNA interaction domain in the N terminus of the catalytic subunit.

Functional human telomerase complexes are minimally composed of the human telomerase RNA (hTR) and a catalytic subunit (human telomerase reverse transcriptase [hTERT]) containing reverse transcriptase (RT)-like motifs. The N terminus of TERT proteins is unique to the telomerase family and has been implicated in catalysis, telomerase RNA binding, and telomerase multimerization, and conserved motifs have been identified by alignment of TERT sequences from multiple organisms. We studied hTERT proteins containing N-terminal deletions or substitutions to identify and characterize hTERT domains mediating telomerase catalytic activity, hTR binding, and hTERT multimerization. Using multiple sequence alignment, we identified two vertebrate-conserved TERT N-terminal regions containing vertebrate-specific residues that were required for human telomerase activity. We identified two RNA interaction domains, RID1 and RID2, the latter containing a vertebrate-specific RNA binding motif. Mutations in RID2 reduced the association of hTR with hTERT by 50 to 70%. Inactive mutants defective in RID2-mediated hTR binding failed to complement an inactive hTERT mutant containing an RT motif substitution to reconstitute activity. Our results suggest that functional hTERT complementation requires intact RID2 and RT domains on the same hTERT molecule and is dependent on hTR and the N terminus.[1]


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