ISSN 10214437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2015, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 487–493. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2015.
The ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes are pro
tected by specific chromatin structures called telomeres
that are composed of tandemly repeated telomeric
DNA and proteins . Telomeres have important bio
logical functions . They protect chromosome ends
and prevent the loss of terminal sequences during chro
mosome replication . Telomeres in almost all higher
plants are composed of the heptanucleotide
type telomere repeat
[3, 4] with the
exception of species in the order Asparagales and family
Solanaceae . Several families of the monocot order
Asparagales contain the six base humantype telomere
. Another example of a non
canonical telomere repeat sequence arose ~15 million
years ago in several genera of the Solanaceae family .
type telomere repeat is also present in
The article is published in the original.
Because of the inability of DNA polymerases to
replicate linear DNA molecules completely, telomeres
shorten with each round of DNA replication .
Telomeres are replicated by a specialized reverse tran
scriptase, called telomerase, by using their own RNA
subunits as templates . Telomerase activity was first
found in Tetrahymena and then in a variety of different
organisms from animal, yeast and plant .
Recent studies have shown that telomere length is
speciesspecific. The telomeres in
ecotype Columbia span 2–5 kb , whereas tobacco
) telomeres are much longer,
reaching 150 kb . In contrast to members of the
closely related Brassicaceae family, such as
thaliana, A. suecica, A. arenosa, A. lyrata, Capsella
rubella, Olimarabidopsis pumila
, telomeres in papaya (
) are at least
10fold longer and range in size from 25 kb to well over
50 kb . In addition, telomere length depends on
both the age of a cell and the number of times a cell has
already divided . Telomere lengths were found to
change in a cyclical way by lengthening and shortening
with age in
needles  and
leaves . Liu et al.  measured terminal
restriction fragment lengths (TRFL) for different tis
sues from ginkgo trees and found that the rank order of
SeasonSpecific Changes in Telomere Length
and Telomerase Activity in Chinese Pine (
Y. Mu, L. Ren, X. Hu, Y. Zhao, H. Li, H. Lu, and D. Liu
College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, P. R. China
Received December 12, 2014
—Telomeres have lately received considerable attention in the development of deciduous tree spe
cies. In order to determine seasonspecific changes in telomere length and telomerase activity in evergreen
tree species, Chinese pine trees (
Carr.) were used as experimental materials. In this study,
we examined the correlation among telomere length, telomerase activity, and temperature in
during the course of an annual developmental cycle. A statistical analysis showed that the lengths of telomeres
were significantly different between new and old leaves in each month. During the annual developmental
cycle, the telomere lengths in Chinese pine tree leaves increased from May to June 2012, remained stable or
increased slightly from June to August 2012, decreased sharply from August 2012 to January 2013, and then
increased from January to April 2013. Telomerase activities could be detected in both new and old leaves from
May 2012 to April 2013 and the telomerase activities in new leaves are higher than in the old each month.
Additionally, there were similar trends between the changes in telomere length and mean monthly tempera
ture from May 2012 to April 2013, and opposite trends were shown between the changes in telomerase activity
and mean monthly temperature. Therefore, telomere length and telomerase activity varied with the season.
Telomere length was positively correlated with temperature and telomerase activity was negatively correlated
with temperature during the annual developmental cycle.
, seasonspecific, telomere length, telomerase activity, temperature
: TRFL—terminal restriction fragment length;
TRAP—telomeric repeat amplification protocol; CTAB—hexa
decyl trimethyl ammonium bromide; CHAPS—3[(3cholami
dopropyl)dimethylammonio]1propane sulfonate; BSA—albu
min from bovine serum.