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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2014 Feb;24:30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

TERT promoter mutations in cancer development.

Author information

1
Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany; Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.
3
Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: r.kumar@dkfz.de.

Abstract

Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) encodes a rate-limiting catalytic subunit of telomerase that maintains genomic integrity. TERT expression is mostly repressed in somatic cells with exception of proliferative cells in self-renewing tissues and cancer. Immortality associated with cancer cells has been attributed to telomerase over-expression. The precise mechanism behind the TERT activation in cancers has mostly remained unknown. The newly described germline and recurrent somatic mutations in melanoma and other cancers in the TERT promoter that create de novo E-twenty six/ternary complex factors (Ets/TCF) binding sites, provide an insight into the possible cause of tumor-specific increased TERT expression. In this review we discuss the discovery and possible implications of the TERT promoter mutations in melanoma and other cancers.

PMID:
24657534
DOI:
10.1016/j.gde.2013.11.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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