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Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) in Tumors and Pluripotent Stem Cells

Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Chromatin Status

Department of Sciences, Università Roma Tre, Viale G. Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(1), 45;
Received: 4 December 2019 / Revised: 22 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 30 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ALT: From Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms to Proposed Therapies)
Telomere length is maintained by either telomerase, a reverse transcriptase, or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT), a mechanism that utilizes homologous recombination (HR) proteins. Since access to DNA for HR enzymes is regulated by the chromatin status, it is expected that telomere elongation is linked to epigenetic modifications. The aim of this review is to elucidate the epigenetic features of ALT-positive cells. In order to do this, it is first necessary to understand the telomeric chromatin peculiarities. So far, the epigenetic nature of telomeres is still controversial: some authors describe them as heterochromatic, while for others, they are euchromatic. Similarly, ALT activity should be characterized by the loss (according to most researchers) or formation (as claimed by a minority) of heterochromatin in telomeres. Besides reviewing the main works in this field and the most recent findings, some hypotheses involving the role of telomere non-canonical sequences and the possible spatial heterogeneity of telomeres are given. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALT; chromatin; histones; recombination; subtelomeres; TERRA; variant repeats ALT; chromatin; histones; recombination; subtelomeres; TERRA; variant repeats
MDPI and ACS Style

Udroiu, I.; Sgura, A. Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Chromatin Status. Genes 2020, 11, 45.

AMA Style

Udroiu I, Sgura A. Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Chromatin Status. Genes. 2020; 11(1):45.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Udroiu, Ion, and Antonella Sgura. 2020. "Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Chromatin Status" Genes 11, no. 1: 45.

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