Telomerase reverse transcriptase is required for the localization of telomerase RNA to cajal bodies and telomeres in human cancer cells

Rebecca L. Tomlinson, Eladio B. Abreu, Tania Ziegler, Hinh Ly, Christopher M. Counter, Rebecca M. Terns, Michael P. Terns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Telomere maintenance by telomerase is critical for the unlimited division potential of most human cancer cells. The two essential components of human telomerase, telomerase RNA (hTR) and telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), are recruited from distinct subnuclear sites to telomeres during S phase. Throughout the remainder of the cell cycle hTR is found primarily in Cajal bodies. The localization of hTR to Cajal bodies and telomeres is specific to cancer cells where telomerase is active and is not observed in primary cells. Here we show that the trafficking of hTR to both telomeres and Cajal bodies depends on hTERT. RNA interference-mediated depletion of hTERT in cancer cells leads to loss of hTR from both Cajal bodies and telomeres without affecting hTR levels. In addition, expression of hTERT in telomerase-negative cells (including primary and ALT cancer cell lines) induces hTR to localize to both sites. Factors that did not stimulate hTR localization in our experiments include increased hTR RNA levels and Cajal body numbers, and expression of SV40 large T antigen and oncogenic Ras. Our findings suggest that the trafficking of telomerase to Cajal bodies and telomeres in cancer cells correlates with and depends on the assembly of the enzyme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3793-3800
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

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