The role of telomerase protein TERT in Alzheimer's disease and in tau-related pathology in vitro.
Telomerase maintains telomere structures and chromosome stability, and it is essential for preserving the characteristics of stem and progenitor cells. In the brain, the hippocampus and the olfactory bulbs are continuously supplied with neural stem and progenitor cells that are required for adult neurogenesis throughout the life. Therefore, we examined whether telomerase plays important roles in maintaining normal brain functions in vivo. Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) expression was observed in the hippocampus, the olfactory bulbs, and the cerebellum, but the telomerase RNA component (TERC) was not detected in hippocampus and olfactory bulbs. Interestingly, TERT-deficient mice exhibited significantly altered anxiety-like behaviors and abnormal olfaction measuring the functions of the hippocampus and the olfactory bulbs, respectively. However, the cerebellum-dependent behavior was not changed in these mutant mice. These results suggest that TERT is constitutively expressed in the hippocampus and the olfactory bulbs, and that it is important for regulating normal brain functions.