Nature Genetics: the Mapping of Telomerase was Disclosed for the First Time
Telomerase is an important enzyme that adds DNA sequence repeats to the 3’ end of DNA strands in the telomere region. It is one of the fundamental enzymes in cell biology. It is a reverse transcriptase and shortened after every replication cycle. In 1970s, scientists have assumed that it was associated with aging and cancer. Human telomerase structure has been known, which consists of two molecules each of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), telomerase RNA (TR or TERC), and dyskerin (DKC1).
After labor and money consuming research, the study jointly conducted by international teams finally declaimed their gain: they have successfully mapped the telomerase for the very first time.
Telomerase, as assumed, is indeed found to be correlated to aging and cancer. Difference in telomeric gene are associated both with the risk of various cancers and with the length of the telomeres. But researchers found that the variant that caused the diseases were not the same as the ones which changed the length of the telomeres.
According to researchers’ introduction, cell division largely depends on telomeres to protect the chromosomes. But each telomere has only certain length. Once telomere uses up, cell division stops. However, cancer cells also produce telomerase and thus telomerase gene plays an important role in cancer biology.
The mapping of telomerase is a critical finding. With this finding, scientists can further their studies on cancer and human longevity.
Tags: Nature Genetics, Telomerase, Enzyme, TERT