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Dr. Janis Shampay investigates the structure and behavior of chromosome ends, or telomeres. These specialized structures are required for chromosome stability and maintenance, yet some of their features are quite dynamic. Chromosome ends are maintained by the ribonucleoprotein, telomerase, in a regulated manner. When telomerase is absent and cells divide, telomeres erode; when telomeres reach a critical length or the structure is perturbed, the cells will either cease dividing or undergo programmed cell death.

Friday, Sept 27
4:10pm, Biology 19

"Regulation of Telomerase"

Abstract: Organisms with linear chromosomes must utilize molecular gymnastics to replace the DNA at the ends, or telomeres, which are incompletely replicated by the semi-conservative replication apparatus.  The common solution is telomerase, which adds short DNA repeats to telomeres, as directed by an internal RNA template.  Telomerase activity is regulated by controlling the production of telomerase, its enzymatic activity, and accessibility of the telomere, which is bound by a protein complex.  The structures of these telomere proteins, and the partners they recruit, include various domains responsible for these functions, which our research endeavors to elucidate.

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