2To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Submitted July 15, 1997.
Telomeres, the natural ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, are essential for protecting chromosomes from degradation and fusion. The synthesis of telomere DNA repeats in most eukaryotes is performed by a special enzyme, telomerase. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme, is a specialized reverse transcriptase utilizing its RNA moiety as a template for synthesis of telomeric DNA. Enzymatic properties and results of comparative analysis of telomerase RNA and protein structures from different eukaryotic systems are discussed in this review.
KEY WORDS: telomeres, telomerase, telomerase RNA, telomerase associated proteins.