PloS one

The telomerase reverse transcriptase subunit from the dimorphic fungus Ustilago maydis.

PMID 25299159


In this study, we investigated the reverse transcriptase subunit of telomerase in the dimorphic fungus Ustilago maydis. This protein (Trt1) contains 1371 amino acids and all of the characteristic TERT motifs. Mutants created by disrupting trt1 had senescent traits, such as delayed growth, low replicative potential, and reduced survival, that were reminiscent of the traits observed in est2 budding yeast mutants. Telomerase activity was observed in wild-type fungus sporidia but not those of the disruption mutant. The introduction of a self-replicating plasmid expressing Trt1 into the mutant strain restored growth proficiency and replicative potential. Analyses of trt1 crosses in planta suggested that Trt1 is necessary for teliospore formation in homozygous disrupted diploids and that telomerase is haploinsufficient in heterozygous diploids. Additionally, terminal restriction fragment analysis in the progeny hinted at alternative survival mechanisms similar to those of budding yeast.