Targeted Covalent Inhibition of Telomerase

Telomerase is a ribonuceloprotein complex responsible for maintaining telomeres and protecting chromosomal integrity. The human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is expressed in ~90% of cancer cells where it confers the capacity for limitless proliferation. Along with its established role in telomere lengthening, telomerase also serves non-canonical extra-telomeric roles in oncogenic signaling, resistance to apoptosis, and enhanced DNA damage response. Here, we report a new class of natural product-inspired covalent inhibitors of telomerase that target the catalytic active site. We developed rationally designed probe compounds that modulate both the telomeric and extra-telomeric activities of telomerase and present new opportunities to investigate the diverse functions of this unique molecular machine.