Telomeres are essential for genome stability in all eukaryotes. Changes in telomere functions and the associated chromosomal abnormalities have been implicated in human aging and cancer. Telomeres are composed of repetitive sequences that can be maintained by telomerase, a complex containing a reverse transcriptase (hTERT in humans and Est2 in budding yeast), a template RNA (hTERC in humans and Tlc1 in yeast), and accessory factors (the Est1 proteins and dyskerin in humans and Est1, Est3, and Sm proteins in budding yeast). Telomerase is regulated in by proteins that bind to telomeric DNA. This regulation can take place at the telomere terminus, involving single-stranded DNA-binding proteins (POT1 in humans and Cdc13 in budding yeast), which have been proposed to contribute to the recruitment of telomerase and may also regulate the extent or frequency of elongation. In addition, proteins that bind along the length of the telomere (TRF1/TIN2/tankyrase in humans and Rap1/Rif1/Rif2 in budding yeast) are part of a negative feedback loop that regulates telomere length. Here we discuss the details of telomerase and its regulation by the telomere.

Keyword(s): agingcancerhumantelomereyeast

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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