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Telomere Extension by Telomerase

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Unlimited replicative potential and widespread genomic disarray are among the most common characteristics exhibited by human cancer cells. Although several distinct molecular pathways regulate specific aspects of each of these phenotypes, specialized chromosomal terminal structures, termed telomeres act as essential regulators of both cell life span and chromosomal integrity (Ref.1).

Telomeres are dynamic DNA-protein complexes that cap the ends of linear chromosomes, preventing detrimental chromosome rearrangements and defending against genomic instability and the associated risk of cancer. Telomeres shorten every time a cell divides because of incomplete DNA replication and DNA end processing. When telomere length reaches a critical point, cells stop dividing and undergo replicative senescence (Ref.2). Mammalian telomeres are composed of tandem repeats of the TTAGGG sequence and [...]


1.Role of telomeres and telomerase in the pathogenesis of human cancer.
Hahn WC.
J Clin Oncol. 2003 May 15; 21(10): 2034-43. Review.
2.Involvement of replicative polymerases, Tel1p, Mec1p, Cdc13p, and the Ku complex in telomere-telomere recombination.
Tsai YL, Tseng SF, Chang SH, Lin CC, Teng SC.
Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Aug; 22(16): 5679-87.
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