Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The canonical function of the human telomerase protein (hTERT) is to synthesize telomeric DNA, but it has other biological activities, including enhancing cell proliferation, decreasing apoptosis, regulating DNA damage responses, and increasing cellular proliferative lifespan. The mechanistic relationships among these activities are not understood. We previously demonstrated that ectopic hTERT expression in primary human mammary epithelial cells diminishes their requirement for exogenous mitogens, thus giving them a proliferative advantage in a mitogen-depleted environment.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA), a class of non-coding RNA molecules recently identified largely due to the efforts of FANTOM, and later GENCODE and ENCODE consortia, have been a subject of intense investigation in the past decade. Extensive efforts to get deeper understanding of lncRNA biology have yielded evidence of their diverse structural and regulatory roles in protecting chromosome integrity, maintaining genomic architecture, X chromosome inactivation, imprinting, transcription, translation and epigenetic regulation.