Australian scientists have made a discovery about Telomere that may have implications for aging, heart disease, cancer, and other age-related diseases.
So, what are Telomeres?
Each of the chromosomes that store our hereditary data has a telomere at each end. This defensive cap consists of a particular DNA sequence that is repeated thousands of times and has two purposes: initially, it secures the coding regions of the chromosomes and keeps them from being damaged, and furthermore, it goes about as a clock that controls the number of replications a cell can experience; this is thought to go about as a quality control system to ensure that aged and conceivably harmed cells do not remain in circulation.
Telomere attrition causes the chromosome ends to register as DNA damage, yet up to this point, it was obscure why telomere homeostasis (a condition of organic parity) is lost as we age, bringing about a move from beneficial to undesirable telomeres. We examine telomere science encourage in our Hallmarks of Aging: Telomere Attrition article.
The New Discovery about Telomere
In the year 1999, specialists Titia de Lange and Jack Griffith founded that telomeres loop structures which were believed to be a system for protein. While telomere shortening causes chromosomes ends to resemble broken DNA, it has remained a mystery why telomeres change from healthy to unhealthy with age, that is until now.
Researchers, driven by Dr. Tony Cesare, Head of the Genome Integrity Unit at Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) at Westmead, found that the telomeres loop hides the chromosome end and keeps it protected; however, as the researchers showed, as the telomeres shorten the loop to unravels, exposing the chromosome end and registering as DNA damage.
The researchers show that as opposed to simply Telomere length, it is their structure that is essential. As telomeres shorten with age, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to form the loop structure and thus protect the chromosome. They also discovered that telomeres can also change their structure in response to certain chemotherapy drugs, helping them to kill cancer cells.
Dr. Cesare initially recommended that Telomeres assumed this job in 2002, but the technology was not easily available at the time to confirm this. Thanks to recent advances in microscopy, it is now possible to see these loops using powerful super-resolution microscopes. The new technology allowed the research team to see 10 times the detail than was available before, allowing them to finally confirm what they had believed was going on.
The research team will now follow up to see how human health correlates with telomere health, which could also shed more light on the complex role that telomeres play in aging.
Telomeres are dynamic structures that are significantly more intricate than initially expected. It is currently realized that they assume an assortment of jobs, including epigenetic control, and that they go about as a defensive system for chromosome closes, a malignancy safeguard, a replicative clock, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The excessively oversimplified thought that just telomere length is applicable to maturing is obviously mistaken, and as our comprehension of telomere science develops, so do the ramifications of treatments went for enhancing telomere wellbeing.
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