Structure-function relationships during transgenic telomerase expression in Arabidopsis
Although telomerase (EC 220.127.116.11) is important for genome stability and totipotency of plant cells, the principles of its regulation are not well understood. Therefore, we studied subcellular localization and function of the full-length and truncated variants of the catalytic subunit of Arabidopsis thaliana telomerase, AtTERT, in planta. Our results show that multiple sites in AtTERT may serve as nuclear localization signals, as all the studied individual domains of the AtTERT were targeted to the nucleus and/or the nucleolus. Although the introduced genomic or cDNAAtTERT transgenes display expression at transcript and protein levels, they are not able to fully complement the lack of telomerase functions in tert -/- mutants. The failure to reconstitute telomerase function in planta suggests a more complex telomerase regulation in plant cells than would be expected based on results of similar experiments in mammalian model systems.