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Histol Histopathol. 1999 Apr;14(2):517-24. doi: 10.14670/HH-14.517.

Cytological and functional aspects of telomere maintenance.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.


The fact that eukaryotic chromosomes are linear poses a special problem for their maintenance: the natural ends of chromosomes must be distinguished from ends generated by chromosomal breakage and somehow, the chromosome ends must also be fully replicated to maintain their integrity. Telomeres, the complex structures at the ends of chromosomes are thought to be instrumental for both of these functions. However, recent insights in telomere biology suggest that these terminal structures do much more than just fulfill these two basic functions. Cytological data demonstrate that telomeres may play leading roles in chromatin organization and nuclear architecture during mitosis and meiosis. Moreover, non-functional telomeres may lead to genetic instability, a common prelude to cancer. Here, we review the basic functions of telomeres during chromosome replication and discuss the cytological aspects of telomere function during mitosis and meiosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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