© 2015 Schmidt and Cech Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Telomerase is the ribonucleoprotein enzyme that catalyzes the extension of telomeric DNA in eukaryotes. Recent work has begun to reveal key aspects of the assembly of the human telomerase complex, its intracellular trafficking involving Cajal bodies, and its recruitment to telomeres. Once telomerase has been recruited to the telomere, it appears to undergo a separate activation step, which may include an increase in its repeat addition processivity. This review covers human telomerase biogenesis, trafficking, and activation, comparing key aspects with the analogous events in other species.