Molecules and cells

Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Contains a BH3-Like Motif and Interacts with BCL-2 Family Members.

PMID 29937479


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 antiapoptotic 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.