Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Telomere maintenance by the telomerase reverse transcriptase requires a noncoding RNA subunit that acts as a template for the synthesis of telomeric repeats. In humans, the telomerase RNA (hTR) is a non-polyadenylated transcript produced from an independent transcriptional unit. As yet, the mechanism and factors responsible for hTR 3' end processing have remained largely unknown. Here, we show that hTR is matured via a polyadenylation-dependent pathway that relies on the nuclear poly(A)-binding protein PABPN1 and the poly(A)-specific RNase PARN. Depletion of PABPN1 and PARN results in telomerase RNA deficiency and the accumulation of polyadenylated precursors. Accordingly, a deficiency in PABPN1 leads to impaired telomerase activity and telomere shortening. In contrast, we find that hTRAMP-dependent polyadenylation and exosome-mediated degradation function antagonistically to hTR maturation, thereby limiting telomerase RNA accumulation. Our findings unveil a critical requirement for RNA polyadenylation in telomerase RNA biogenesis, providing alternative approaches for telomerase inhibition in cancer.