Telomere neurobiology

Mark P. Mattson, Peisu Zhang, Aiwu Cheng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


The ends of chromosomes consist of a hexanucleotide DNA repeat sequence and specialized DNA-binding and telomere-associated proteins. An enzyme activity called telomerase maintains telomere length by using an RNA template (TR) and a reverse transcriptase (TERT) to add the hexanucleotide sequence to the free chromosome end. The structure of telomeres is maintained and modified by telomere repeat-binding factors (TRF1 and TRF2) and proteins known for their role in DNA damage responses, including poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, Werner, and ATM. Telomerase activity can be quantified using a telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay, and levels of TERT and telomere-associated proteins are evaluated by immunoblot and immunocytochemical methods. Levels of TERT and telomere-associated proteins can be overexpressed or knocked down using viral vector-based methods. Using the kinds of approaches described here, evidence has been obtained suggesting that telomeres play important roles in regulating neural stem cell proliferation, neuronal differentiation, senescence of glial cells, and apoptosis and DNA damage responses of neural cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781588298461
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • Apoptosis
  • Astrocytes
  • ATM
  • Neurogenesis
  • Telomerase reverse transcriptase
  • TRF1
  • TRF2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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