Telomeric Repeat-Containing RNA (TERRA) and Telomerase Are Components of Telomeres During Mammalian Gametogenesis. Reig-Viader R 2014 et al.
Telomeres are ribonucleoprotein structures at the end of chromosomes composed of telomeric DNA, specific-binding proteins and noncoding RNA (TERRA). Despite their importance in preventing chromosome instability, little is known about the crosstalk between these three elements during the formation of the germ line. Here, we provide evidence that both TERRA and the telomerase enzymatic subunit (TERT) are components of telomeres in mammalian germ cells. We found that TERRA co-localizes with telomeres during mammalian meiosis and that its expression progressively increases during spermatogenesis, until the beginning of spermiogenesis. While both TERRA levels and distribution would be regulated in a gender-specific manner, telomere-TERT co-localization appears to be regulated based on species-specific characteristics of the telomeric structure. Moreover, we found that TERT localization at telomeres is maintained all through spermatogenesis as a structural component without affecting telomere elongation. Our results represent the first evidences of co-localization between telomerase and telomeres during mammalian gametogenesis.