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Telomerase and Retrotransposons: Reverse Transcriptases
that Shaped Genomes

Organized by M. Joan Curcio, Neal Lue, and Marlene Belfort

September 29-30, 2010
Irvine, California

Meeting Overview:
Misregulation of telomerase and retrotransposon reverse transcriptases has been implicated in genome restructuring events that promote cancer and aging. A central question in genome biology is how the activity of reverse transcriptases has been modified and harnessed throughout archaeal, bacterial, and eukaryotic evolution to generate diversity and at the same time, participate in the maintenance of genome integrity. It has been appreciated for quite some time that telomerase and retrotransposon reverse transcriptases exhibit a number of mechanistic similarities and are likely to share a common origin. More recent biochemical, functional and phylogenetic analyses only serve to reinforce a deep-seated connection between these two families of polymerases. In recognition of the 40th anniversary of the discovery of reverse transcriptase, this colloquium brouthg researchers in the two fields together to identify common and distinguishing attri butes of telomerase and retrotransposon reverse transcriptases. Recent advances in understanding the chemistry, biology and evolution of these two classes of reverse transcriptases, and the implications of these studies for improving human health were examined. 

 Video Available

Session I. Telomerases and Retrotransposon RTs: Catalysis, Structure, Lifestyle

Chair, Julie Feigon

Introductions and Opening Remarks, Joan Curcio

The molecular perspective of telomerase template translocation
Julian Chen

The mechanisms and diversity of yeast telomerase
Neal Lue 

 Human telomerase holoenzyme and stem cell
Steve Artandi

 Human LINE-1 retrotransposition
John Moran

Reverse transcriptase structure and function
Stephen Hughes

Session II.  Telomerases and Retrotransposon RTs: RNA-Protein Interactions and RNP Biogenesis

Chair, Virginia Zakian

Telomerase RNA structure and dynamics
Juli Feigon

Telomerase RNP assembly and catalysis
Kathy Collins

HIV-I RT-nucleic acid interactions
Xiaowei Zhuang

Ty3 RNP assembly
Suzanne Sandmeyer

Retrotransposons in neurogenesis
Fred Gage

David Baltimore

Session III.  Roles of the RTs In Maintaining and Shaping the Genome

Chair, Neal Lue

Telomerase regulation
Vicki Lundblad

Roles of TERT complexes in transformation
William Hahn

Multiple non-telomerase mechanisms contribute to telomeremaintenance in tumors and primary mammalian cells
Tammy Morrish

Transcriptional activation of TINF2, a gene encoding the telomere-associated protein TIN2, by SP1 and NF-KB factors
Hinh Ly

Group II intron retromobility shapes genomes
Marlene Belfort

Retrotransposons and genome structure
Joan Curcio

Yeast telomeres and telomerase
Virginia Zakian

Session IV:  Evolution and Future Perspectives

Chair, Joan Curcio

Duplication and diversification of telomerase subunits in Arabidopsis: new models for telomerase regulation
Dorothy Shippen

Retrotransposon reverse transcriptases
Thomas Eickbush

Transposable elements as dedicated components of eukaryotic chromosomes
Mary Lou Pardue

The initiation of reverse transcription by L1 elements requires a 3' overhang
Gael Cristofari

Target-primed retrotransposons and telomeres
Irina Arkhipova

Retrotransposons and telomeres
Daniel Voytas

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