TERRA (biology)

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TERRA in biology is an abbreviation for "TElomeric Repeat-containing RNA".[1] TERRA is RNA that is transcribed from telomeres — the repeating 6-nucleotide sequences that cap the ends of chromosomes. TERRA functions with shelterin to inhibit telomere lengthening by enzyme telomerase.[1] At least four factors contribute to telomere maintenance: telomerase, shelterin, TERRA and the CST Complex.[2]

TERRA can also regulate telomere length by increasing euchromatin formation.[3] On the other hand, nonsense-mediated decay factor enrichment at telomeres may exist to prevent TERRA inhibition of telomerase.[1] TERRA levels vary during the cell cycle, decreasing during S phase, and increasing in the transition from G2 phase to G1 phase.[3]