Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered an on-and-off “switch” in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. The switch controls the growth of telomeres, the timekeepers of cells
This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing and generating, for example, new lung or liver tissue, even in old age.
In our bodies, newly divided cells constantly replenish lungs, skin, liver and other organs. However, most human cells cannot divide indefinitely–with each division, a cellular timekeeper at the ends of chromosomes shortens. When this timekeeper, called a telomere, becomes too short, cells can no longer divide, causing organs and tissues to degenerate, as often happens in old age. But there is a way around this countdown: some cells produce an enzyme called telomerase, which rebuilds telomeres and allows cells to divide indefinitely.
In a new study published September 19th in the journal Genes and Development, scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered that telomerase, even when present, can be turned off.
“Previous studies had suggested that once assembled, telomerase is available whenever it is needed,” says senior author Vicki Lundblad, professor and holder of Salk’s Ralph S. and Becky O’Connor Chair. “We were surprised to discover instead that telomerase has what is in essence an ‘off’ switch, whereby it disassembles.”
Understanding how this “off” switch can be manipulated–thereby slowing down the telomere shortening process–could lead to treatments for diseases of aging (for example, regenerating vital organs later in life).
The Latest on: Telomerase
via Google News
The Latest on: Telomerase
- Better Buy: Geron vs. Incyteon January 7, 2020 at 6:53 am
Image Source: Getty Images. Geron has yet to deliver an approved drug despite nearly 30 years focused on an area of biology called telomeres and telomerase. Telomeres are protective caps on DNA ...
- Telomerase and Cancer Therapeuticson December 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Telomerase is an attractive cancer target as it appears to be required in essentially all tumours for immortalization of a subset of cells, including cancer stem cells. Moreover, differences in ...
- Telomerase Mutations in Families with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosison December 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Germ-line mutations in the genes hTERT and hTR, encoding telomerase reverse transcriptase and telomerase RNA, respectively, cause autosomal dominant dyskeratosis congenita, a rare hereditary ...
- Mutant Dyskerin Ends Relationship with Telomeraseon December 24, 2019 at 10:09 pm
The enzyme telomerase is responsible for adding DNA sequences to the ends of chromosomes, replacing the terminal repeats lost during replication. Telomerase, a cellular reverse transcriptase, is a ...
- Telomerase and Cancer Therapeuticson December 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm
We are still in the early days of clinically validating telomerase as a cancer target. We do not fully understand the role of telomerase and telomere dynamics in normal biology and cancer ...
- Telomerase Inhibitor Imetelstat in Patients with Essential Thrombocythemiaon December 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Imetelstat, a 13-mer oligonucleotide that is covalently modified with lipid extensions, competitively inhibits telomerase enzymatic activity. It has been shown to inhibit megakaryocytic ...
- Regulating Access to Telomeraseon September 9, 2019 at 2:58 am
In most eukaryotic cells, chromosome stability is maintained in part by the action of telomerase, an enzyme that synthesizes DNA repeats at the termini of chromosomes. Seimiya et al. report that ...
- Enzyme known for promoting cancer found to also protect healthy cellson September 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm
New research reveals a new role for the enzyme telomerase, which scientists thought was turned off in most normal adult cells, except in cancerous tumors where it promotes unlimited cell division.
- Telomerase Activity of Reverse Transcriptaseon August 26, 2019 at 11:21 am
In their report “Reverse transcriptase motifs in the catalytic subunit of telomerase” (25 Apr., p. 561), Joachim Lingneret al. demonstrate that such motifs are present in the catalytic subunit of the ...
- Biochemists report a way to stop the immortality of cancer cells with oligonucleotideson February 12, 2019 at 5:41 am
RUDN biochemists found a way to reduce the activity of telomerase (the enzyme of cell immortality) 10-fold. The discovery could lead to new antitumor drugs and give a better understanding of how ...
via Bing News