Oligonucleotide inhibitors of telomerase: Prospects for anticancer therapy and diagnostics

M. I. Zvereva, T. S. Zatsepin, D. M. Azhibek, O. S. Shubernetskaya, O. V. Shpanchenko, O. A. Dontsova

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The activity of telomerase allows eukaryotic cells to have unlimited division potential. On its functioning, telomerase synthesizes short DNA repeats at the 3-end of DNA within chromosomes that ensures genome stability during cell division. Telomerase is active in the majority of cancer cell types and is virtually absent in somatic cells with rare exceptions. This difference allows us to consider inhibition of telomerase activity as a possible approach to antitumor therapy. Telomerase is a nucleoprotein composed of two main components: the reverse transcriptase (hTERT), which is a catalytic subunit, and telomerase RNA (hTR), which encodes a template for synthesis of repeats. The biogenesis and features of telomerase seem very promising for its inhibition due to complementary interactions. In this review, we analyze putative pathways of oligonucleotide influence on telomerase and consider the known native and modified oligonucleotide inhibitors of telomerase, as well as possible mechanisms of their action. We also discuss the application of telomerase-targeted oligonucleotide conjugates for in vivo imaging of tumor cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-259
    Number of pages9
    JournalBiochemistry (Moscow)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


    • anticancer therapy target
    • human telomerase
    • oligonucleotide
    • telomerase inhibitors
    • tumor cell imaging


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