Molecular & Human Genetics

1997 Recipient

Identification of catalytic and regulatory components of yeast telomerase

Dr. Lundblad received the award for her work on genetics studies in yeast that led to the identification of several novel components required for chromosome end replication. One of these genes, EST2 (Ever Shorter Telomeres), proved to encode the long-sought catalytic subunit of telomerase. Her work, in collaboration with investigators from the University of Colorado, has shown that telomerase is the first example of a reverse transcriptase that plays a vital role in the cell, with important ramifications for the evolution of this class of enzymes. In addition, since telomerase has been strongly implicated in oncogenesis, the identification of the catalytic component, first in yeast and more recently in humans, will facilitate investigation of the role of telomerase in cancer.

Dr. Lundblad’s nomination was based on the following publications:

Nugent CI, Hughes TR, Lue NF, Lundblad V. Cdc13p: a single-strand telomeric DNA-binding protein with a dual role in yeast telomere maintenance. Science. 1996 Oct 11;274(5285):249-52.

Lundblad V, Wright WE. Telomeres and telomerase: a simple picture becomes complex. Cell. 1996 Nov 1;87(3):369-75.

Virta-Pearlman V, Morris DK, Lundblad V. Est1 has the properties of a single-stranded telomere end-binding protein. Genes Dev. 1996 Dec 15;10(24):3094-104.

Lendvay TS, Morris DK, Sah J, Balasubramanian B, Lundblad V. Senescence mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with a defect in telomere replication identify three additional EST genes. Genetics. 1996 Dec;144(4):1399-412.

Linger J, Hughes TR, Shevchenko A, Mann M, Lundblad V, Cech TR. Reverse transcriptase motifs in the catalytic subunit of telomerase. Science. 1997 Apr 25;276(5312):561-7.