2 Feb 1998

Dr. Russell asked me to keep a weather eye peeled for stuff on telomeres and telomerase and I'll use this page to collect what I find. It makes a good example for Bio182, because it's topical and current and sprawls across the landscape of kinds of literature.

So where to begin? I want a quick read of just how specialized the subject is (not necessarily the specialized literature itself, but some sense of who's doing what with the subject), and for that the web is an appropriate place to begin --though I certainly won't limit myself to what I find.

Annie does offer one item:
 AUTHOR       Kipling, David.
 TITLE        The telomere / David Kipling.
 PUBLISHER    Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1995.
 DESCRIPT     x, 208 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
 BIBLIOG.     Includes bibliographical references and index.
 CONTENTS     Introduction -- The cytology of the telomere -- Telomere
                structure -- Telomerase -- Telomere proteins -- Genome
                rearrangements and telomeres -- Human telomere loss, ageing,
                and cancer -- Chromatin structure and position effects --
                Structure and maintenance of Drosophila telomeres -- 
                Telomeres and mammalian genome analysis.
 SUBJECT      Telomere.
 Science Library        QH600.3 .K57 1995

A quick AltaVista search for telomerase nets 1800+ documents.... Delange and Broccoli turn up immediately as names with recent publications, I see that cancer is clearly involved, I run across reference to Geron Corporation, and I find a link to a site called Telomere Club with lots of juicy-looking links. Good beginning.
I want something a bit easier to evaluate, or to judge the reputability of, and so I turn to several dependable science journals which I think would be likely to have had articles about telomerase.

A search of Science turns up 22 articles in the last couple of years, some brand new.

A search of PNAS finds 13.

And a search of Science News turned up several references, including this summary:

Enzyme rare in adults may signal cancers

Telomerase, an enzyme rarely seen in the healthy human body, may be a warning sign of cancer.


Kinoshita, H., et al. 1997. Detection of telomerase activity in exfoliated cells in urine from patients with bladder cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 89(May 21):724.

Kyo, S., et al. 1997. Application of telomerase assay for the screening of cervical lesions. Cancer Research 57(May 15):1863.

Muller, M. 1997. Telomerase in bladder cancer, bladder washings and in urine. Annual meeting of the American Urological Association. New Orleans.

Further Readings:

Blackburn, E. 1991. Structure and function of telomeres. Nature 350:569.

Harley, C. 1991. Telomere loss: Mitotic clock or genetic time bomb? Mutation Research 256:271.

Kim, N., et al. 1994. Specific association of human telomerase activity with immortal cells and cancer. Science 266:2011.

Park, T., et al. 1996. Association between human papillomavirus type and clonal status of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 88:355.

Rhyu, M. 1995. Telomeres, telomerase and immortality. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87(June 21):884.

Shay, J. 1995. Aging and cancer: Are telomeres and telomerase the connection? Molecular Medicine Today 1:378.

Travis, J. 1995. End games. Science News 148(Nov. 25):362.

Seeing that there are plenty of articles in this general area I need to get some sense of the amount, and so I consult some specialized databases:

A search of Cambridge Scientific Abstracts for 'telomerase' found 225 references (1992-1998).

UnCover found 'telomerase' in the titles of 311 articles.

It's not surprising that PubMed finds a lot: 564 items for 'telomerase'

But plunging directly in to that specialist literature doesn't make sense until I have some background, and so I consult BioDigest (a good place to start a search) and the search for 'telomerase' produces 23 items, each with a summary. Reading through some of these will provide a good basis for narrowing searches in the more specialized databases.

In short, a couple of hours of looking has produced a lot of leads and a lot of material to examine in more detail.

Geron Corporation described, and a link to the Geron website, including links to their patents (which include useful bibliographies, among other things) and further links to other useful materials.