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Telomeres and telomerase dance to the rhythm of the cell cycle

Authors
Journal
Trends in Biochemical Sciences
0968-0004
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
37
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tibs.2012.05.004
Keywords
  • Telomere Dynamics
  • Nuclear Organization
  • Telomerase
  • Rnp Maturation
  • Telomerase Trafficking
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

The stability of the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes is ensured by functional telomeres, which are composed of short, species-specific direct repeat sequences. The maintenance of telomeres depends on a specialized ribonucleoprotein (RNP) called telomerase. Both telomeres and telomerase are dynamic entities with different physical behaviors and, given their substrate–enzyme relation, they must establish a productive interaction. Regulatory mechanisms controlling this interaction are key missing elements in our understanding of telomere functions. Here, we review the dynamic properties of telomeres and the maturing telomerase RNPs, and summarize how tracking the timing of their dance during the cell cycle will yield insights into chromosome stability mechanisms. Cancer cells often display loss of genome integrity; therefore, these issues are of particular interest for our understanding of cancer initiation or progression.

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