Telomere Science Library

Publications, Presentations, and Videos
about the Nobel-Prize Winning Science of Telomere Biology

Telomerase reverse transcriptase in the regulation of gene expression.

Authors: Junzhi J. Zhou, Deqiang D. Ding, Miao M. Wang, Yu-Sheng YS. Cong
Published: 01/24/2014, BMB reports


Telomerase plays a pivotal role in the pathology of aging and cancer by maintaining genome integrity, controlling cell proliferation, and regulating tissue homeostasis. Telomerase is essentially composed of an RNA component, Telomerase RNA or TERC, which serves as a template for telomeric DNA synthesis, and a catalytic subunit, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). The canonical function of TERT is the synthesis of telomeric DNA repeats, and the maintenance of telomere length. However, accumulating evidence indicates that TERT may also have some fundamental functions that are independent of its enzymatic activity. Among these telomere-independent activities of hTERT, the role of hTERT in gene transcription has been investigated in detail. Transcriptional regulation is a fundamental process in biological systems. Several studies have shown a direct involvement of hTERT in gene transcription. This mini-review will focus on the role of hTERT in gene transcription regulation, and discuss its possible mechanisms.