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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Apr;18(2):212-20. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.01.011. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Telomeres in drag: Dressing as DNA damage to engage telomerase.

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  • 1Telomere Biology Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.


The telomere field concentrates both on mechanisms of telomere synthesis and the mechanisms by which telomeres protect chromosome termini from fusion and degradation. Recent studies show that the DNA damage response (DDR) machinery, formerly thought to be the culprit in deleterious telomeric fusion and degradation reactions, plays an active role not only in telomere protection but also in regulating telomere synthesis. Conversely, semi-conservative DNA replication, responsible for the bulk of telomere synthesis, now appears to be a pivotal event on the road to telomere de-protection. These advances prompt the notion that the two guises of telomere function are intricately entangled. Indeed, telomeres appear to expose themselves to the DDR upon passage of the replication fork, in turn attracting telomerase.

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