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Cell Cycle. 2003 Nov-Dec;2(6):534-7.

Telomerase as a growth-promoting factor.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas, USA.


Beyond its role in telomere maintenance, telomerase provides additional functions in tumorigenesis, DNA repair, and cell survival. Telomerase protects cells from apoptosis and necrosis, and stimulates growth in adverse conditions. Furthermore, gross overexpression of the catalytic subunit of telomerase (hTERT) may act as a hyperproliferative signal to induce a senescence-like phenotype in normal fibroblasts, which is similar to the senescence induced by overexpression of oncogenes. As some of these functions can be dissociated from telomere lengthening, the question arises as to how the mere presence of telomerase can serve as a survival and growth-promoting factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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