Structure and function of telomeres

Nature. 1991 Apr 18;350(6319):569-73. doi: 10.1038/350569a0.


The DNA of telomeres--the terminal DNA-protein complexes of chromosomes--differs notably from other DNA sequences in both structure and function. Recent work has highlighted its remarkable mode of synthesis by the ribonucleoprotein reverse transcriptase, telomerase, as well as its ability to form unusual structures in vitro. Moreover, telomere synthesis by telomerase has been shown to be essential for telomere maintenance and long-term viability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA / genetics


  • RNA
  • DNA
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase