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 anti-apoptotic 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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MEST; 2015R1A2A1A01003845, 2017R1A4A 1015328), and the Yonsei University Yonsei-SNU collaborative research fund of 2014.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology