Stretching, scrambling, piercing and entangling: Challenges for telomeres in mitotic and meiotic chromosome segregation

Differentiation. Mar-Apr 2018;100:12-20. doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2018.01.002. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


The consequences of telomere loss or dysfunction become most prominent when cells enter the nuclear division stage of the cell cycle. At this climactic stage when chromosome segregation occurs, telomere fusions or entanglements can lead to chromosome breakage, wreaking havoc on genome stability. Here we review recent progress in understanding the mechanisms of detangling and breaking telomere associations at mitosis, as well as the unique ways in which telomeres are processed to allow regulated sister telomere separation. Moreover, we discuss unexpected roles for telomeres in orchestrating nuclear envelope breakdown and spindle formation, crucial processes for nuclear division. Finally, we discuss the discovery that telomeres create microdomains in the nucleus that are conducive to centromere assembly, cementing the unexpectedly influential role of telomeres in mitosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Segregation*
  • Humans
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mitosis / genetics*
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere Homeostasis*