Project information

Structural and functional analysis of plant telomerase RNA

Project Identification
MUNI/R/1076/2020
Project Period
1/2021 - 12/2022
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
Masaryk University
MU Faculty or unit
Central European Institute of Technology

Telomeres are nucleoprotein structure that cap the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomeres are synthesised and maintained by the action of a ribonucleoprotein protein complex enzyme – telomerase. Telomerase counterbalance the progressive loss of chromosome terminal DNA by adding telomeric DNA repeats onto 3’-ends using the catalytic activity of its core protein subunit – telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). For synthesis of telomeric DNA repeats, the RNA template is required (TR). It has been shown that TRs exhibit a divergence in length, sequence, and secondary structure and all these properties can affect telomerase enzymatic activity. Recently, TRs across land plants have been identified and the secondary structure of Arabidopsis thaliana TR has been predicted. The aim of this project will be to demonstrate experimentally the folding of specific TR regions in Physcomitrella patens using DMS and/or SHAPE chemistry. These approaches will be newly introduced in our laboratory and can be used also in other collaborative projects analysing RNA structures. Experimental data will be analysed with bioinformatic tools for RNA structure determination. Functional importance of individual motifs for telomerase activity will be checked using in vitro reconstitution experiments and complementation of P. patens TR-mutant plants.

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