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The telomerase reverse transcriptase is limiting and necessary for telomerase function in vivo.

Mammalian telomerase is essential for the maintenance of telomere length [1-5]. Its catalytic core comprises a reverse transcriptase component (TERT) and an RNA component. While the biochemical role of mammalian TERT is well established [6-11], it is unknown whether it is sufficient for telomere-length maintenance, chromosome stability or other cellular processes. Cells from mice in which the mTert gene had been disrupted showed progressive loss of telomere DNA, a phenotype similar to cells in which the gene encoding the telomerase RNA component (mTR) has been disrupted [1,12]. On prolonged growth, mTert-deficient embryonic stem (ES) cells exhibited genomic instability, aneuploidy and telomeric fusions. ES cells heterozygous for the mTert disruption also showed telomere attrition, a phenotype that differs from heterozygous mTR cells [12]. Thus, telomere maintenance in mammals is carried out by a single, limiting TERT.

Pubmed ID: 11102810


  • Liu Y
  • Snow BE
  • Hande MP
  • Yeung D
  • Erdmann NJ
  • Wakeham A
  • Itie A
  • Siderovski DP
  • Lansdorp PM
  • Robinson MO
  • Harrington L


Current biology : CB

Publication Data

November 16, 2000

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: AG8422117

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Gene Targeting
  • Mice
  • RNA
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere