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Biochimie. 2008 Jan;90(1):83-92. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Tankyrase function at telomeres, spindle poles, and beyond.

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  • 1Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 540 First Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016, United States.


Telomeres have special needs; they require distinct mechanisms for their protection, replication, and separation at mitosis. A dedicated six-subunit protein complex termed shelterin attends to these needs. But shelterin cannot do it alone and often relies on recruits from other cellular locales. One such recruit is tankyrase 1, a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase that is brought to telomeres by the shelterin DNA binding subunit TRF1, where it functions in telomere length regulation and sister chromatid separation. An understanding of how tankyrase 1 functions at telomeres has been confounded by its complexity; it localizes to multiple subcellular sites, it has many diverse binding partners, and it has a closely related homolog (tankyrase 2) with which it may functionally overlap. This review summarizes our current knowledge of tankyrases focusing on their localization, binding partners, and function.

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