Binds the telomeric double-stranded 5'-TTAGGG-3' repeat and plays a central role in telomere maintenance and protection against end-to-end fusion of chromosomes. In addition to its telomeric DNA-binding role, required to recruit a number of factors and enzymes required for telomere protection, including the shelterin complex, TERF2IP/RAP1 and DCLRE1B/Apollo. Component of the shelterin complex (telosome) that is involved in the regulation of telomere length and protection. Shelterin associates with arrays of double-stranded 5'-TTAGGG-3' repeats added by telomerase and protects chromosome ends; without its protective activity, telomeres are no longer hidden from the DNA damage surveillance and chromosome ends are inappropriately processed by DNA repair pathways. Together with DCLRE1B/Apollo, plays a key role in telomeric loop (T loop) formation by generating 3' single-stranded overhang at the leading end telomeres: T loops have been proposed to protect chromosome ends from degradation and repair. Required both to recruit DCLRE1B/Apollo to telomeres and activate the exonuclease activity of DCLRE1B/Apollo. Preferentially binds to positive supercoiled DNA. Together with DCLRE1B/Apollo, required to control the amount of DNA topoisomerase (TOP1, TOP2A and TOP2B) needed for telomere replication during fork passage and prevent aberrant telomere topology. Recruits TERF2IP/RAP1 to telomeres, thereby participating in to repressing homology-directed repair (HDR), which can affect telomere length.