Telomeres, the nucleoprotein structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, play an integral role in protecting linear DNA from degradation. Dysregulation of telomeres can result in genomic instability and has been implicated in increased rates of cellular senescence and many diseases, including cancer. The integrity of telomeres is maintained by a coordinated network of proteins and RNAs, such as the telomerase holoenzyme and protective proteins that prevent the recognition of the telomere ends as a DNA double-strand breaks. The structure of chromatin at telomeres and within adjacent subtelomeres has been implicated in telomere maintenance pathways in model systems and humans. Specific post-translational modifications of histones, including methylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination, have been shown to be necessary for maintaining a chromatin environment that promotes telomere integrity. Here we review the current knowledge regarding the role of histone modifications in maintaining telomeric and subtelomeric chromatin, discuss the implications of histone modification marks as they relate to human disease, and highlight key areas for future research.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited