Telomeres are unique nucleoprotein structures. Found at the edge of each chromosome, their main purpose is to mask DNA ends from the DNA-repair machinery by formation of protective loops. Through life and cell divisions, telomeres shorten and bring cells closer to either cell proliferation crisis or senescence. Beyond this mitotic clock role attributed to the need for telomere to be maintained over a critical length, the very tip of our DNA has been shown to impact transcription by position effect. TPE and a long-reach counterpart, TPE-OLD, are mechanisms recently described in human biology. Still in infancy, the mechanism of action of these processes and their respective genome wide impact remain to be resolved. In this review, we will discuss recent findings on telomere dynamics, TPE, TPE-OLD, and lessons learnt from model organisms.
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