Human POT1 facilitates telomere elongation by telomerase

Curr Biol. 2003 May 27;13(11):942-6. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(03)00339-7.


Mammalian telomeric DNA is mostly composed of double-stranded 5'-TTAGGG-3' repeats and ends with a single-stranded 3' overhang. Telomeric proteins stabilize the telomere by protecting the overhang from degradation or by remodeling the telomere into a T loop structure. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein that synthesizes new telomeric DNA. In budding yeast, other proteins, such as Cdc13p, that may help maintain the telomere end by regulating the recruitment or local activity of telomerase have been identified. Pot1 is a single-stranded telomeric DNA binding protein first identified in fission yeast, where it was shown to protect telomeres from degradation [10]. Human POT1 (hPOT1) protein is known to bind specifically to the G-rich telomere strand. We now show that hPOT1 can act as a telomerase-dependent, positive regulator of telomere length. Three splice variants of hPOT1 were overexpressed in a telomerase-positive human cell line. All three variants lengthened telomeres, and splice variant 1 was the most effective. hPOT1 was unable to lengthen the telomeres of telomerase-negative cells unless telomerase activity was induced. These data suggest that a normal function of hPOT1 is to facilitate telomere elongation by telomerase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Clone Cells
  • Electrophoresis
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Shelterin Complex
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • POT1 protein, human
  • Shelterin Complex
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins
  • Telomerase