Telomerase Information

[mage lang=”en|es|fr|en” source=”flickr”]telomerase information[/mage]
When looking at senescence in cells what is the significance of measuring telomerase activity?

ie. what information does it provide (senescence and ageing??.. senescence and cancer??)

Recall that senescence is when cells no longer divide, and typically enter a period of decreased metabolic activity before apoptosis.

One of the proposed mechanisms for cells to determine their own age is the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes and, because of the chemistry of DNA replication, become progressively shorter with each subsequent round of replication. Telomerase is a unique enzyme that can repair this shortening by adding extra, non-coding pieces of DNA to the ends of chromosomes, protecting the necessary genetic information from being lost.

Most normal adult cells do not express telomerase. This ensures that when cells become too old to function correctly, they will die (they approach what’s called the Hayflick limit, at which point their chromosomes are no longer long enough for the cell to be functional). If telomerase is mutated and is expressed in adult cells, they lose the ability to stop growing, and they are at a higher risk for becoming cancerous. Indeed, a majority of tumors arise from cells that erroneously express telomerase. I hope this helps…telomerase is emerging as a possible target for chemotherapeutic drugs. Interestingly, despite the heightened level of telomerase, cancer cells tend to have shorter telomeres than other rapidly dividing cells…the hope is that they will be more susceptible to telomere poisoning than other cell populations.

Anti-Aging Cure Found?