Telomerase reverse transcriptase contains a BH3-like motif and interacts with BCL-2 family members

Young Jin, Long You, Hye Jeong Kim, Han Woong Lee

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Upregulation of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression is an important factor in the cellular survival and cancer. Although growing evidence suggests that hTERT inhibits cellular apoptosis by telomere-independent functions, the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Here, we show that hTERT contains a BH3-like motif, a short peptide sequence found in BCL-2 family proteins, and interacts with anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins MCL-1 and BCL-xL, suggesting a functional link between hTERT and the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Additionally, we propose that hTERT can be categorized into the atypical BH3-only proteins that promote cellular survival, possibly due to the non-canonical interaction between hTERT and anti-apoptotic proteins. Although the detailed mechanisms underlying the hTERT BH3-like motif functions and interactions between hTERT and BCL-2 family proteins have not been elucidated, this work proposes a possible connection between hTERT and BCL-2 family members and reconsiders the role of the BH3-like motif as an interaction motif.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-694
Number of pages11
JournalMolecules and cells
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MEST; 2015R1A2A1A01003845, 2017R1A4A 1015328), and the Yonsei University Yonsei-SNU collaborative research fund of 2014.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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