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Telomerase, mitochondria and oxidative stress

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gabriele Saretzki


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Telomerase plays an important role in cellular proliferation capacity and survival under conditions of stress. A large part of this protective function is due to telomere capping and maintenance. Thus it contributes to cellular immortality in stem cells and cancer. Recently, evidence has accumulated that telomerase can contribute to cell survival and stress resistance in a largely telomere-independent manner. Telomerase has been shown to shuttle dynamically between different cellular locations. Under increased oxidative stress telomerase is excluded from the nucleus and can be found within the mitochondria. This phenotype correlates with decreased oxidative stress within telomerase expressing cells and improved mitochondrial function by currently largely unknown mechanisms. Our data suggest that mitochondrial protection could be an important non-canonical function for telomerase in cell survival and ageing. This review summarises briefly our knowledge about extra-telomeric functions of telomerase and discusses the potential significance of its mitochondrial localisation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Saretzki G

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Gerontology

Year: 2009

Volume: 44

Issue: 8

Pages: 485-492

ISSN (print): 0531-5565

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6815


DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2009.05.004