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TelNet – a database of genes involved in telomere maintenance (TM)

Telomere length maintenance is essential for the unlimited proliferation of human cancer cells due to the 3’-end erosion, a process intrinsic to the replication of linear chromosomes. Progressive telomere shortening in somatic cells leads to the induction of senescence or apoptosis, thus acting as a barrier to unlimited proliferation and tumorigenesis. Cancer cells circumvent this constraint by acquiring a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM). From recent studies it is emerging that telomere maintenance is a complex process that involves hundreds of different genes. To support a systematic evaluation of TMM features and their integration into TMM pathway models or genome-wide mutational analysis of cancer genomes the TelNet database has been developed.

TelNet maintains a list of genes that have been reported to be involved in telomere maintenance (TM). Besides giving a thorough overview of TM relevant genes it provides information on the type of TM mechanism the gene is involved in (e.g. telomerase or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) as well as the general cellular and telomere specific knockdown phenotype if available. Furthermore, for each gene literature linking this gene to TM features is listed. TelNet will be supported by the recently founded german CancerTelSys consortium ( and will be manually curated by researchers from the consortium as well as additional scientists working on telomeres. It will be maintained for at least 5 years. It is part of a long-term systems medicine initiative that aims at identifying TM networks in cancer for diagnosis, prognosis, patient stratification and therapy response prediction.


Open TelNet

Feel free to explore the database.


For any feedback please contact the TelNet Team: (telnet (at)