Life at the End of the Chromosome: Telomeres and Telomerase



Telomerase, the enzyme that replicates the ends of linear chromosomes, is implicated in cellular aging and in cancer. The molecular components that form the catalytic core of this ribonucleoprotein enzyme (a section of the active site with bound substrates is depicted) have recently been identified in multiple organisms, including humans. The stage is now set for chemists to develop telomerase inhibitors, which hold promise as cancer chemotherapeutic agents.