Genetic and epigenetic modulation of telomerase activity in development and disease

Liang Liu, Serene Lai, Lucy G. Andrews, Trygve O. Tollefsbol

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Telomerase activity is one of the most important factors that have been linked to multiple developmental processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, aging and senescence. Dysregulation of telomerase has often been found in developmental abnormalities, such as cancer, loss of function in the hematopoietic system, and low success rate of somatic cloning. A comprehensive network of transcription factors has been shown to be involved in the genetic control of telomerase expression and activity. Epigenetic mechanisms have recently been shown to provide an additional level of regulation, and may be responsible for the diverse expression status of telomerase that is manifested in a tissue and cell-type-dependent manner. This article summarizes the recent developments in the field of telomerase research with a focus on the coregulation of the telomerase gene by both genetic and epigenetic pathways. Developmental consequences of aberrant telomerase activity will also be summarized and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 29 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institute on Aging, the Ovarian SPORE Program, the American Cancer Society, the Purdue-UAB Botanicals Center, the Geriatric Education, Research and Clinical Center, and the UAB Postdoc Career Development Award to Liang Liu.


  • 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine
  • 5-aza-dc
  • A-T
  • ALT
  • alternative lengthening of telomeres
  • ataxia telangiectasia
  • Chromatin remodeling
  • DHS
  • DKC
  • DNA methylation
  • DNaseI hypersensitivity site
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone methylation
  • hTERT
  • Transcription


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