Human telomeres have different overhang sizes at leading versus lagging strands

Weihang Chai, Qun Du, Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


G-rich 3′ telomeric overhangs are required both for forming the distinct telomere structures to protect chromosome ends and for extending telomeres by telomerase. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms generating telomere overhangs in human cells. We show here that cultured normal human diploid cells have longer G overhangs at telomeres generated by lagging-strand synthesis than by leading-strand synthesis. We also demonstrate that telomerase expression results in elongated overhangs at the leading daughter telomeres. Thus, the overhangs at the leading and lagging daughter telomeres are generated differently in human cells, and telomerase may preferentially affect overhangs generated at the telomeres produced by leading-strand synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 3 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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