Longevity of lobsters is linked to ubiquitous telomerase expression

FEBS Lett. 1998 Nov 13;439(1-2):143-6. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(98)01357-x.


Mammals have high growth rates in embryonic and juvenile phases and no growth in adult and senescent phases. We analyzed telomerase activity in a fundamentally different animal which grows indeterminately. Lobsters (Homarus americanus) grow throughout their life and the occurrence of senescence is slow. A modified TRAP assay was developed and the lobster telomeric repeat sequence TTAGG was determined. We detected telomerase activities which were dependent on RNA and protein components, required dGTP, dATP and dTTP, but not dCTP. Telomerase products with a five nucleotide periodicity were generated. High telomerase activities were detected in all lobster organs. We conclude that telomerase activation is a conserved mechanism for maintaining long-term cell proliferation capacity and preventing senescence, not only in cellular models or embryonic life stages but also in adult multicellular organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nephropidae / enzymology
  • Telomerase / biosynthesis
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Ubiquitins / chemistry


  • Ubiquitins
  • Telomerase