Biogenesis and

      Evolution of Telomerase RNP


Telomerase [təˈlōməˌrās] is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that adds simple single-stranded DNA repeats onto linear chromosome ends to maintain chromosome stability and sustain cellular immortality. In humans, normal somatic cells lack telomerase activity and have limited replicative capacity, while near 90% of tumors reactivated telomerase to escape replicative senescence and attain cellular immortality. In adult stem cells, telomerase is expressed at an insufficient level, which leads to progressive telomere shortening and contributes to cellular senescence and tissue degeneration in the elderly. Moreover, mutations in telomerase have been linked to numerous telomere-mediated disorders such as dyskeratosis congenita, aplastic anemia, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Understanding the inner workings of telomerase would provide keys to anti-cancer and anti-aging therapies.