Telomere Science Library

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about the Nobel-Prize Winning Science of Telomere Biology

Telomeric Repeat Containing RNA (TERRA): Aging and Cancer.

Authors: Sonam S. Sinha, Samriddhi S. Shukla, Sajid S. Khan, Mohammad M. Farhan, Mohammad Amjad MA. Kamal, Syed Musthapa SM. Meeran
Published: 07/24/2015, CNS & neurological disorders drug targets


Telomeric repeat containing RNAs (TERRA) are small RNA molecules synthesized from telomeric regions which were previously considered as silent genomic domains. In normal cells, these RNAs are transcribed in a direction from subtelomeric region towards the chromosome ends, but in case of cancer cells, their expression remains limited or absent. Telomerase is a rate limiting enzyme for cellular senescence, cancer and aging. Most of the studies deal with the manipulation of telomerase enzyme in cancer and aging either by synthetic oligonucleotide or by natural phytochemicals. Here, we collected evidences and discussed intensely about the bio-molecular structure of TERRA, naturally occurring ligands of telomerase, and their genetic and epigenetic regulations in aging associated diseases. Due to their capability to act as naturally occurring ligands of telomerase, these RNAs can overcome the limitations possessed by synthetic oligonucleotides, which are aimed against telomerase. Drugs specifically targeting TERRA molecules could modulate telomerase-mediated telomere lengthening. Thus, targeting TERRA-mediated regulation of telomerase would be a promising therapeutic strategy against cancer and age-associated diseases.