Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key to aging? Key molecular switch for telomere extension by telomerase identified

Date:
November 24, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Researchers have described for the first time a key target of DNA damage checkpoint enzymes that must be chemically modified to enable stable maintenance of chromosome ends by telomerase, an enzyme thought to play a key role in cancer and aging.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine describe for the first time a key target of DNA damage checkpoint enzymes that must be chemically modified to enable stable maintenance of chromosome ends by telomerase, an enzyme thought to play a key role in cancer and aging.

Their findings are reported online in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

Telomeres are the natural ends of chromosomes, consisting of specialized DNA-and-protein structures that protect chromosome ends and ensure faithful duplication of chromosomes in actively dividing cells. An essential player in telomere maintenance is an enzyme complex called telomerase. Without telomerase, telomeres become progressively shorter each time the cell divides.

If telomeres become too short, chromosome ends will be recognized as broken, prompting DNA-damage checkpoint proteins to halt cell division and DNA repair proteins to fuse or rearrange the chromosome ends. Telomere dysfunction has been linked to tumor formation and premature aging in humans.

The UIC study, led by Toru Nakamura, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, focused on understanding how two DNA-damage checkpoint enzymes called ATM and ATR contribute to the regulation of telomerase.

"Our current study found that ATM and ATR help to switch on the telomere complex by chemically modifying a specific target protein bound to telomeric DNA, which then attracts telomerase, much like honey bees are attracted if flowers open and show bright colors," Nakamura said.

The study was done in fission yeast cells, a model organism that utilizes very similar protein complexes as human cells do to maintain telomeres. Previous discoveries in fission yeast have provided key information that helped identify several key factors required in maintenance of human telomeres.

Nakamura thinks that a similar ATM/ATR-dependent molecular switch may exist in human cells to regulate telomere maintenance. However, certain details of the protective complex regulation may be different, he noted.

Because deregulation of telomere maintenance mechanisms is a key event in tumor formation, understanding how cellular components collaborate to generate functional telomeres may be important to finding ways to prevent cancer, Nakamura said.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Federal Work Study Program. Bettina Moser, UIC research assistant professor in biochemistry and molecular genetics, was first author of the study. Graduate student Ya-Ting Chang and undergraduate student Jorgena Kosti also contributed to the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bettina A Moser, Ya-Ting Chang, Jorgena Kosti, Toru M Nakamura. Tel1ATM and Rad3ATR kinases promote Ccq1-Est1 interaction to maintain telomeres in fission yeast. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2187

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Key to aging? Key molecular switch for telomere extension by telomerase identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133522.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2011, November 24). Key to aging? Key molecular switch for telomere extension by telomerase identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133522.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Key to aging? Key molecular switch for telomere extension by telomerase identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133522.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins