, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 3339-3349,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Nov 2010

Human telomerase activity regulation

Abstract

Telomerase has been recognized as a relevant factor distinguishing cancer cells from normal cells. Thus, it has become a very promising target for anticancer therapy. The cell proliferative potential can be limited by replication end problem, due to telomeres shortening, which is overcome in cancer cells by telomerase activity or by alternative telomeres lengthening (ALT) mechanism. However, this multisubunit enzymatic complex can be regulated at various levels, including expression control but also other factors contributing to the enzyme phosphorylation status, assembling or complex subunits transport. Thus, we show that the telomerase expression targeting cannot be the only possibility to shorten telomeres and induce cell apoptosis. It is important especially since the transcription expression is not always correlated with the enzyme activity which might result in transcription modulation failure or a possibility for the gene therapy to be overcome. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of numerous telomerase regulation mechanisms that take place after telomerase subunits coding genes transcription. Thus we show the possible mechanisms of telomerase activity regulation which might become attractive anticancer therapy targets.