Structure and function of telomeres
What is the role of telomere in cancer?
Telomeres maintain genomic integrity in normal cells, and their progressive shortening during successive cell divisions induces chromosomal instability. In the large majority of cancer cells, telomere length is maintained by telomerase.
What is the role of telomeres in aging?
Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself, but the important DNA stays intact. Eventually, telomeres get too short to do their job, causing our cells to age and stop functioning properly. Therefore, telomeres act as the aging clock in every cell.
What is the connection between telomeres and cancer?
Since telomere shortening is strongly correlated with an increased risk of cancer during aging and chronic disease, the scientific literature suggests that the loss of telomere capping function contributes to the induction of chromosomal instability and cancer initiation process.
Is telomerase good or bad?
Too much telomerase can help confer immortality onto cancer cells and actually increase the likelihood of cancer, whereas too little telomerase can also increase cancer by depleting the healthy regenerative potential of the body.
At what age do telomeres start to shorten?
In newborns, white blood cells have telomeres ranging from 8,000 to 13,000 base pairs in length, as compared with 3,000 in adults and only 1,500 in the elderly. After the newborn phase, the number of base pairs tends to decline by approximately 20 to 40 per year.
How can we protect telomeres?
How to slow down telomere shortening
- Maintain a healthy weight with healthy eating.
- Exercise regularly.
- Quit smoking.
- Get enough sleep.
- Reduce or manage stress.
- Eat a telomere-protective diet full of foods high in vitamin C, polyphenols, and anthocyanins.
What causes aging?
Aging is likely caused by a combination of reasons. Some theories suggest cells have a predetermined lifespan, while others claim it’s caused by error and damage. Other theories say that aging is due to genetic, evolution, or biochemical reactions.
Apoptosis in Cancer
The loss of apoptotic control allows cancer cells to survive longer and gives more time for the accumulation of mutations which can increase invasiveness during tumor progression, stimulate angiogenesis, deregulate cell proliferation and interfere with differentiation .
Does telomerase increase risk of cancer?
In humans, evidence that telomerase upregulation confers a risk of familial cancer was first documented in a five-generation autosomal dominant family with cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) that was found to carry a mutation in the TERT promoter (54). This gain-of-function mutation upregulates TERT transcription (54).
What is the relationship between telomeres and aging?
Telomeres play a central role in cell fate and aging by adjusting the cellular response to stress and growth stimulation on the basis of previous cell divisions and DNA damage. At least a few hundred nucleotides of telomere repeats must “cap” each chromosome end to avoid activation of DNA repair pathways.
What do telomeres do for the body?
A telomere is a repeating DNA sequence (for example, TTAGGG) at the end of the body’s chromosomes. The telomere can reach a length of 15,000 base pairs. Telomeres function by preventing chromosomes from losing base pair sequences at their ends. They also stop chromosomes from fusing to each other.