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Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Chromatin Status
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ALT: A Multi-Faceted Phenomenon

Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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Genes 2020, 11(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11020133
Received: 11 December 2019 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 22 January 2020 / Published: 27 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ALT: From Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms to Proposed Therapies)
One of the hallmarks of cancer cells is their indefinite replicative potential, made possible by the activation of a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM). The majority of cancers reactivate the reverse transcriptase, telomerase, to maintain their telomere length but a minority (10% to 15%) utilize an alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway. Here, we review the phenotypes and molecular markers specific to ALT, and investigate the significance of telomere mutations and sequence variation in ALT cell lines. We also look at the recent advancements in understanding the different mechanisms behind ALT telomere elongation and finally, the progress made in identifying potential ALT-targeted therapies, including those already in use for the treatment of both hematological and solid tumors.
Keywords: alternative lengthening of telomeres; cancer; telomere-variant-repeat; break-induced telomere synthesis; therapy alternative lengthening of telomeres; cancer; telomere-variant-repeat; break-induced telomere synthesis; therapy
MDPI and ACS Style

Sommer, A.; Royle, N.J. ALT: A Multi-Faceted Phenomenon. Genes 2020, 11, 133.

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