The ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme telomerase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae adds telomeric DNA to chromosomal ends in short increments both in vivo and in vitro. Whether or not telomerase functions as a multimer has not been addressed previously. Here we show, first, that following polymerization, the telomerase RNP remains stably bound to its telomeric oligonucleotide reaction product. We then exploit this finding and a previously reported mutant telomerase RNA to demonstrate that, unexpectedly, the S.
Telomerase is a eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) whose specialized reverse transcriptase action performs de novo synthesis of one strand of telomeric DNA. The resulting telomerase-mediated elongation of telomeres, which are the protective end-caps for eukaryotic chromosomes, counterbalances the inevitable attrition from incomplete DNA replication and nuclease action.
We have analyzed the macronuclear DNA of Paramecium tetraurelia using orthogonal-field-alternation gel electrophoresis. The mean size of the linear macronuclear DNA molecules is approximately 450 kb. Less than 6% of the macronuclear DNA is larger than 800 kb. Using pulse times of 20, 40, 60 and 90 s we show that the macronuclear fragment containing the A type variable surface antigen gene migrates reproducibly as a 320-kb linear DNA. Over the same pulse times we describe the unusual migration of the ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) of P. tetraurelia.
We have determined the complete sequence of the nuclear gene encoding the small subunit (17 S) rRNA of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila. The gene encodes an RNA molecule which is 1753 nucleotides in length. The sequence of the Tetrahymena small subunit rRNA is homologous to those of other eukaryotes, and the predicted secondary structure for the molecule includes features which are characteristic of eukaryotic small subunit rRNAs.
Telomerase, an essential ribonucleoprotein reverse transcriptase, adds telomeric DNA to the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. We examined the conformational properties of the naked RNA moiety of telomerase from two related ciliates, Tetrahymena thermophila and Glaucoma chattoni. As well as finding evidence for features proposed previously on the basis of phylogenetic comparisons, novel conserved structural properties were revealed.
Site-directed mutagenesis of the telomerase RNA from Tetrahymena thermophila was used previously to demonstrate the templating function of a sequence within this RNA; this sequence specifies the sequence of telomeric DNA in vivo. The possible functional importance of a phylogenetically conserved nucleotide outside the telomerase RNA template region was investigated by a similar experimental approach.
A novel form of extrachromosomal rDNA has been identified in conjugating Tetrahymena cells. This rDNA consists of 11 kb linear double-stranded DNA molecules, each containing a single rRNA gene copy. The DNA sequence, tandemly repeated CCCCAA (Blackburn and Gall, 1978) found at the termini of extrachromosomal palindromic rDNA (the macronuclear form found in vegetatively growing cells), is also present at the corresponding terminus of the 11 kb rDNA.
We have constructed a linear yeast plasmid by joining fragments from the termini of Tetrahymena ribosomal DNA to a yeast vector. Structural features of the terminus region of the Tetrahymena rDNA plasmid maintained in the yeast linear plasmid include a set of specifically placed single-strand interruptions within the cluster of hexanucleotide (C4A2) repeat units. An artificially constructed hairpin terminus was unable to stabilize a linear plasmid in yeast.
We examined structural properties of poly d(C4A2).d(T2G4), the telomeric DNA sequence of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena. Under conditions of high negative supercoiling, poly d(C4A2).d(T2G4) inserted in a circular plasmid vector was preferentially sensitive to digestion with S1 nuclease. Only the C4A2 strand was sensitive to first-strand S1 cutting, with a markedly skewed pattern of hypersensitive sites in tracts of either 46 or 7 tandem repeats.