Telomeres, telomerase and senescence

Bioessays. 1990 Aug;12(8):363-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.950120803.


Eukaryotic chromosomes end with tandem repeats of simple sequences. These GC rich repeats allow telomere replication and stabilize chromosome ends. Telomere replication involves an equilibrium of sequence loss and addition at the ends of chromosomes. Repeats are added de novo by telomerase, an unusual DNA polymerase. Telomerase is an RNP in which an essential RNA component provides the template for the added telomere repeats. Telomere length maintenance plays an essential role in cell viability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation


  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase