Telomeres and Tissue Engineering: The Potential Roles of TERT in VEGF-mediated Angiogenesis
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- Hartwig, F.P., Nedel, F., Collares, T.V. et al. Stem Cell Rev and Rep (2012) 8: 1275. doi:10.1007/s12015-012-9414-3
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Telomeres are protective structures located at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes which are shortened after each cell division, leading to senescence. Telomerase activity prevents telomere shortening by reverse transcription catalyzed by the subunit called TERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase). TERT expression has shown interesting cellular properties, which may be appealing for tissue engineering, such as the enhancement of cell proliferation and differentiation abilities in vitro. Despite some evidence for playing these roles in VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor)-mediated angiogenesis, it is still unclear whether TERT can contribute to this essential event to generate functional organs. This review suggests a hypothesis that TERT and VEGF potentially regulates the transcriptional expression of each other, which would give new perspectives in the roles of telomerase in regulating several cellular processes, and also contributing for a better comprehension of the molecular mechanisms underlying VEGF signaling (both paracrine and autocrine). In general, based on the literature revised, it is possible to conclude that TERT is a potential VEGF enhancer; however, it is necessary to elaborate methodological approaches to explore this potential and to assess the potential benefits on tissue engineering approaches.