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Hallmarks of Aging Miniseries No. 2 Telomere Attrition
As cells divide, the telomere ends of chromosomes get shorter. Eventually, the enzyme that adds telomeric repeat sequences, telomerase, gets silenced and the telomeres are too short for cells to divide. Shortened telomeres are associated with aging cells that are senescent.
Telomeres at the ends of chromosomes, like all other sections of DNA, are prone to DNA damage, including double-strand breaks (DSBs). And unlike the rest of the chromosome, telomere DSBs aren’t fixed by the DNA repair pathway, as this would frequently lead to fused chromosomes and genomic instability. That’s why we have telomerase. However, telomerase expression is silenced in many adult cells, to curb rampant cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, and so telomeres get progressively shorter with age.
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- Wang J, Zhao C, Zhao A, Li M, Ren J, Qu X. New insights in amyloid Beta interactions with human telomerase. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Jan 28;137(3):1213-9.
- Borah S, Xi L, Zaug AJ, Powell NM, Dancik GM, Cohen SB, Costello JC, Theodorescu D, Cech TR. Cancer. TERT promoter mutations and telomerase reactivation in urothelial cancer. Science. 2015 Feb 27;347(6225):1006-10.
Featured Solution for Studying Telomere Attrition
TRAPeze® Telomerase Detection Kit
Telomerase activity has been detected in over 85% of all tumors. The TRAPeze® Telomerase Detection Kit is a highly sensitive in vitro
assay system for detecting telomerase activity.
The TRAPeze® Telomerase Detection Kit contains a modified reverse primer sequence which:
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- eliminates the need for a wax barrier hot start
- reduces amplification artifacts
- permits better estimation of telomerase processivity