Telomere Biology and Biochemistry

  • Laura Gardano
  • Lea Harrington


In this chapter, beyond some general background about the structure of the telomere and its associated proteins, we highlight the selected topics emerging in the field. The review can be summarized into two principal themes: firstly that the characterization of proteins/activities associated with the enzyme telomerase has revealed important regulatory mechanisms of telomere maintenance; and secondly, that protein complexes involved in the DNA damage response (DDR) localize at the telomere, and are essential to initiate a signaling cascade for cell cycle arrest or apoptosis when telomere “damage” is sensed. Precisely, how the DDR is suppressed at a “functional” telomere is still an active area of investigation. Finally, telomeric and subtelomeric regions possess a characteristic heterochromatin organization, and the regulation of DNA and histone methylation appears important in the regulation of the telomere position effect, telomere stability, recombination processes, and transcription into telomeric RNA (TERRA). The presence of TERRA is an exciting recent finding, and constitutes an additional new regulatory element in telomere homeostasis.


Telomere Length Telomere Maintenance Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome Telomere Elongation Reverse Transcriptase Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Alternative lengthening of telomeres


ALT related promyelocytic bodies


Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated


Ataxia-telangiectasia related


Conserved regions


Conserved sequence


Dissociates activity telomerase


DNA damage response


Dyskeratosis congenita


DNA protein kinase


DNA methyl transferases


Double strand break


Fluorescence in situ hybridization


Fluorescence resonance energy transfer


Histones methyl transferase


Homologous recombination


Mouse embryonic fibroblast


Nijmegen breakage syndrome


Nonsense mediated decay


Oligonucleotide binding


Population doubling


Phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related kinase


Promyelocitic bodies


Protection of telomere


Repressor activator protein


RNA binding domain




Reverse transcriptase


Silent information regulator


Telomere end-binding protein


Telomere associated protein


Telomerase RNA component


Telomere reverse transcriptase


Telomere dysfunction induced foci


Trf1 interacting protein


Telomere position effect




Telomerase RNA


Telomere repeat factor



We wish to thank Jennifer Dorrens, Catherine Clark and Helen Pickersgill for critical reading of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell BiologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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