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Review

Composition and Function of Telomerase—A Polymerase Associated with the Origin of Eukaryotes

1
Laboratory of Functional Genomics and Proteomics, National Centre for Biomolecular Research, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, CZ-61137 Brno, Czech Republic
2
Mendel Centre for Plant Genomics and Proteomics, Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, CZ-62500 Brno, Czech Republic
3
The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biophysics, Královopolská 135, 612 65 Brno, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomolecules 2020, 10(10), 1425; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101425
Received: 3 September 2020 / Revised: 29 September 2020 / Accepted: 1 October 2020 / Published: 8 October 2020
The canonical DNA polymerases involved in the replication of the genome are unable to fully replicate the physical ends of linear chromosomes, called telomeres. Chromosomal termini thus become shortened in each cell cycle. The maintenance of telomeres requires telomerase—a specific RNA-dependent DNA polymerase enzyme complex that carries its own RNA template and adds telomeric repeats to the ends of chromosomes using a reverse transcription mechanism. Both core subunits of telomerase—its catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) subunit and telomerase RNA (TR) component—were identified in quick succession in Tetrahymena more than 30 years ago. Since then, both telomerase subunits have been described in various organisms including yeasts, mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Despite the fact that telomerase activity in plants was described 25 years ago and the TERT subunit four years later, a genuine plant TR has only recently been identified by our group. In this review, we focus on the structure, composition and function of telomerases. In addition, we discuss the origin and phylogenetic divergence of this unique RNA-dependent DNA polymerase as a witness of early eukaryotic evolution. Specifically, we discuss the latest information regarding the recently discovered TR component in plants, its conservation and its structural features. View Full-Text
Keywords: telomerase; evolution; telomerase RNA (TR); telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT); plant TERT; plant TR telomerase; evolution; telomerase RNA (TR); telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT); plant TERT; plant TR
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schrumpfová, P.P.; Fajkus, J. Composition and Function of Telomerase—A Polymerase Associated with the Origin of Eukaryotes. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 1425. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101425

AMA Style

Schrumpfová PP, Fajkus J. Composition and Function of Telomerase—A Polymerase Associated with the Origin of Eukaryotes. Biomolecules. 2020; 10(10):1425. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101425

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schrumpfová, Petra P., and Jiří Fajkus. 2020. "Composition and Function of Telomerase—A Polymerase Associated with the Origin of Eukaryotes" Biomolecules 10, no. 10: 1425. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101425

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