Human telomerase exists in two distinct active complexes in vivo

Hideki Mizuno, Shilagardi Khurts, Takahiko Seki, Yasuhide Hirota, Shuichi Kaneko, Seishi Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Telomerase, a stable complex of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and template RNA (TERC), is responsible for telomere maintenance. During purification trials of recombinant human telomerase of the two components reconstituted in insect cells, we identified two complexes of human telomerase of molecular masses 680 and 380 kDa, both of which retain telomerase activity in vitro. We show here that the former complex does not include Hsp90 (heat shock protein 90) and its telomerase activity is resistant to Hsp90 inhibitors, whereas the latter contains Hsp90 and its telomerase activity is sensitive to Hsp90 inhibitors. N-terminal of FLAG-hTERT in the former is exposed, as this complex was efficiently purified with anti-FLAG M2 affinity resin. We also identified two different telomerase complexes in HeLa cells, in addition to ectopically expressed hTERT. Most of endogenous hTERT and FLAG-hTERT was detected around 680 kDa. These two complexes in HeLa cells have the same properties as their respective reconstituted telomerases. The unstable property of the telomerase complex with Hsp90, especially in the presence of Hsp90 inhibitors, was due to proteasome-mediated degradation of hTERT, since proteasome inhibitors prevented hTERT degradation in vivo. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of two distinct active complexes of human telomerase ectopically expressed in insect and mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-652
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • GA
  • Hsp90
  • hTERC
  • hTERT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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