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Science 309 (5738): 1253-1256

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Effects of Telomerase and Telomere Length on Epidermal Stem Cell Behavior

Ignacio Flores, María L. Cayuela, María A. Blasco*

Abstract: A key process in organ homeostasis is the mobilization of stem cells out of their niches. We show through analysis of mouse models that telomere length, as well as the catalytic component of telomerase, Tert, are critical determinants in the mobilization of epidermal stem cells. Telomere shortening inhibited mobilization of stem cells out of their niche, impaired hair growth, and resulted in suppression of stem cell proliferative capacity in vitro. In contrast, Tert overexpression in the absence of changes in telomere length promoted stem cell mobilization, hair growth, and stem cell proliferation in vitro. The effects of telomeres and telomerase on stem cell biology anticipate their role in cancer and aging.

Telomeres and Telomerase Group, Molecular Oncology Program, Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO), Melchor Fernández Almagro 3, Madrid E-28029, Spain.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mblasco{at}

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