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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2005 Aug 30;240(1-2):11-22.

Hormones and growth factors regulate telomerase activity in ageing and cancer.

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Molecular Signalling Laboratory, Department of Immunology, Monash University, AMREP, Prahran, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.


Telomerase is a specialised reverse transcriptase that synthesises and preserves telomeres (the ends of chromosomes), thereby playing a key role in regulating the lifespan of cell proliferation. Telomerase activity is critically involved in cell development, ageing and tumourigenesis. Activation of telomerase to maintain telomeres is required for self renewal and proliferative expansion of a number of cell types, including stem cells, activated lymphocytes and cancerous cells. However, recent studies show that the safeguard mechanisms and the modes of regulation of telomerase are more revealing than thought under various physiological and pathological conditions. Considerable evidence suggests that hormones and growth factors are crucially involved in regulating telomerase activity and gene expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). This review briefly summarises our current understanding of how hormones and growth factors regulate the telomerase and telomere network and how deregulation can induce ageing and related diseases such as cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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