[mage lang=”en|es|fr|en” source=”flickr”]find telomerase enzyme[/mage]
Would it be possible to alter the structure of telomerase enzymes in such a way that they would destroy a cell?
I was reading about the presence of telomerase being found primarily in tumor cells and how there were studies underway to test inhibiting the enzyme, but I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on whether or not the enzyme could be coerced into causing tumor cells to destroy themselves. Does anyone know if this is a possibility or if it is being researched at the moment?
It depends on what you mean by destroy a cell.
The actual function of the telomerase is to repair the telomeres on the ends of the chromosomes. DNA polymerases are unable to get to the very ends of linear chromosomes and therefore every replication shortens the chromosomes.
The presence of telomeres protects the functional DNA from this degradation, but only up to a point and thus makes them mortal. Telomerase can repair this but only in germ line cells, stem cells and cancer cells is there telomerase activity. This makes cancer cells basically immortal and able to replicate indefinitely.
The enzyme itself couldn’t be coerced to destroy the cell, but you could interrupt the telomerase activity and therefore make the tumor cell mortal, that is, have a finite number of replications and control is growth.
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