Cell Research (2008) 18:725–732. doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.74; published online 24 June 2008

Actions of human telomerase beyond telomeres

Yusheng Cong1 and Jerry W Shay2

  1. 1Key laboratory for Cell Proliferation and Regulation Biology of the Ministry of Education, Institute of Cell Biology, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xin Jie Kou Wai Avenue, Beijing 100875, China
  2. 2Department of Cell Biology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75390-9039, USA

Correspondence: Yusheng Cong, aTel: 86-010-5880-2030;; Jerry W Shay, bTel: 214-648-3282;



Telomerase has fundamental roles in bypassing cellular aging and in cancer progression by maintaining telomere homeostasis and integrity. However, recent studies have led some investigators to suggest novel biochemical properties of telomerase in several essential cell signaling pathways without apparent involvement of its well established function in telomere maintenance. These observations may further enhance our understanding of the molecular actions of telomerase in aging and cancer. This review will provide an update on the extracurricular activities of telomerase in apoptosis, DNA repair, stem cell function, and in the regulation of gene expression.


aging, cancer, immortalization, apoptosis, DNA damage response


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Telomere length, stem cells and aging

Nature Chemical Biology Review (01 Oct 2007)

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