Video: The links between telomerase and aging

Telomerase, aging and lengthening telomeres

The key to keeping our cells healthy may be down to the enzyme telomerase. In this video we cover how telomerase helps maintain telomere length in our cells, and how this influences how our bodies age, and why we develop diseases like cancer.

Over time, with each cell division, telomeres shorten. When telomeres are too short a DNA damage response is triggered, and cells are signaled to stop dividing (senescence) or die (apoptosis).

Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase, and it helps to maintain telomere length in our cells. Telomerase binds to the telomere and elongates the DNA, then moves down it, repeating this process and extending the overhang.

In this video we showcase the mechanism of telomerase elongating DNA, maintaining telomere length in our cells.

We also explore what can happen if too much, or too little telomerase is present, and how this can have implications such as cancer, or Telomere Biology Disorders.

This is part of a series of six videos where we explore telomeres, telomere length and telomerase, as well as the impacts they have on our health and aging.

Watch the video explaining Telomere Biology Disorders next.

To learn more about the end replication problem, and how telomere shortening affects aging, watch this video.

RepeatDx is a leading clinical laboratory for telomere length testing. You can find out more about telomere length testing with RepeatDx here.

Follow us on Twitter: @RepeatDx

References
  1. Aubert G, Lansdorp PM. Telomeres and aging. Physiol Rev. 2008;88(2):557-579. doi:10.1152/physrev.00026.2007.
  2. Barthel, F.P., Wei, W., Tang, M., Martinez-Ledesma, E., Hu, X., Amin, S.B., Akdemir, K.C., Seth, S., Song, X., Wang, Q., et al. (2017). Systematic analysis of telomere length and somatic alterations in 31 cancer types. Nat Genet 49, 349-357.
  3. Blasco, M. A. et al. Telomere shortening and tumor formation by mouse cells lacking telomerase RNA. Cell 91, 25-34 (1997).
  4. Rudolph, K, L., Chang, S., Lee, H-W., Blasco, M., Gottlieb, G, J., Greider, C., DePinho, R,A. Longevity, Stress Response, and Cancer in Aging Telomerase-Deficient Mice. Cell. 1999; 96:5.701-712.https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80580-2.
  5. Aubert, G., Baerlocher, G. M., Vulto, I., Poon, S. S. & Lansdorp, P. M. Collapse of telomere homeostasis in hematopoietic cells caused by heterozygous mutations in telomerase genes. PLoS Genet 8, e1002696, doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002696 (2012).