© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein complex, is responsible for maintaining the telomere length at chromosome ends. Using its RNA component as a template, telomerase uses its reverse transcriptase activity to extend the 3'-end single-stranded, repetitive telomeric DNA sequence. Pif1, a 5'-to-3' helicase, has been suggested to regulate telomerase activity. We used single-molecule experiments to directly show that Pif1 helicase regulates telomerase activity by removing telomerase from telomere ends, allowing the cycling of the telomerase for additional extension processes. This telomerase removal efficiency increases at longer ssDNA gaps and at higher Pif1 concentrations. The enhanced telomerase removal efficiency by Pif1 at the longer single-stranded telomeric DNA suggests a way of how Pif1 regulates telomerase activity and maintains telomere length.