Arabidopsis retains vertebrate-type telomerase accessory proteins via a plant-specific assembly. Academic Article uri icon


  • The recent discovery of the bona-fide telomerase RNA (TR) from plants reveals conserved and unique secondary structure elements and the opportunity for new insight into the telomerase RNP. Here we examine how two highly conserved proteins previously implicated in Arabidopsis telomere maintenance, AtPOT1a and AtNAP57 (dyskerin), engage plant telomerase. We report that AtPOT1a associates with Arabidopsis telomerase via interaction with TERT. While loss of AtPOT1a does not impact AtTR stability, the templating domain is more accessible in pot1a mutants, supporting the conclusion that AtPOT1a stimulates telomerase activity but does not facilitate telomerase RNP assembly. We also show, that despite the absence of a canonical H/ACA binding motif within AtTR, dyskerin binds AtTR with high affinity and specificity in vitro via a plant specific three-way junction (TWJ). A core element of the TWJ is the P1a stem, which unites the 5' and 3' ends of AtTR. P1a is required for dyskerin-mediated stimulation of telomerase repeat addition processivity in vitro, and for AtTR accumulation and telomerase activity in vivo. The deployment of vertebrate-like accessory proteins and unique RNA structural elements by Arabidopsis telomerase provides a new platform for exploring telomerase biogenesis and evolution.

published proceedings

  • Nucleic Acids Res

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Song, J., Castillo-Gonz├ílez, C., Ma, Z., & Shippen, D. E.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Song, Jiarui||Castillo-Gonz├ílez, Claudia||Ma, Zeyang||Shippen, Dorothy E

publication date

  • September 2021