Dr. Kazu Tomita, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London
Tuesday 16th January, 1.00 p.m., Stacey Lecture Theatre 1
The lifetime of a cell is set by the terminal ends of our chromosomes, telomeres. Most dividing cells, not exceptional for cancers, require telomeres to protect chromosomes. However, telomere erosion occurs every cell cycle, thus imposing a proliferative capacity. Stem cells and unicellular eukaryotes express the telomere addition enzyme telomerase to counteract telomere erosion, therefore allowing reproduction of future generations to continue. Cancer cells also reactivate telomerase to escape the fate of cellular ageing. We are investigating how telomerase activity is controlled using fission yeast as a model organism. We also explore non-canonical functions of telomeres, especially during meiosis.