© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
The telomerase is responsible for adding telomeric repeats to chromosomal ends and consists of the reverse transcriptase TERT and the RNA subunit TERC. The expression and activity of the telomerase are tightly regulated, and aberrant activation of the telomerase has been observed in >85% of human cancers. To better understand telomerase regulation, we performed immunoprecipitations coupled with mass spectrometry (IP-MS) and identified cold inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRP or hnRNP A18) as a telomerase-interacting factor. We have found that CIRP is necessary to maintain telomerase activities at both 32°C and 37°C. Furthermore, inhibition of CIRP by CRISPR-Cas9 or siRNA knockdown led to reduced telomerase activities and shortened telomere length, suggesting an important role of CIRP in telomere maintenance. We also provide evidence here that CIRP associates with the active telomerase complex through direct binding of TERC and regulates Cajal body localization of the telomerase. In addition, CIRP regulates the level of TERT mRNAs. At the lower temperature, TERT mRNA is upregulated in a CIRP-dependent manner to compensate for reduced telomerase activities. Taken together, these findings highlight the dual roles that CIRP plays in regulating TERT and TERC, and reveal a new class of telomerase modulators in response to hypothermia conditions.