5' exonuclease Apollo (DCLRE1B)

5'-3' exonuclease that plays a central role in telomere maintenance and protection during S-phase. Participates in the protection of telomeres against non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ)- mediated repair, thereby ensuring that telomeres don't fuse.

Plays a key role in telomeric loop (T loop) formation by being recruited by TERF2 at the top end telomeres and by processing leading-end telomeres immediately after their replication via its exonuclease activity: creates 3' single-stranded overhang at the top end telomeres avoiding blunt leading-end telomeres that are vulnerable to end-joining reactions and expose the telomere end in a manner that activates the DNA repair pathways. Together with TERF2, required to protect telomeres from replicative damage during replication by controlling the amount of DNA topoisomerase (TOP1, TOP2A and TOP2B) required for telomere replication during fork passage and prevent aberrant telomere topology.