Navigation Links
Longevity tied to genes that preserve tips of chromosomes
Date:11/11/2009

November 11, 2009 - (BRONX, NY) - A team led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has found a clear link between living to 100 and inheriting a hyperactive version of an enzyme that rebuilds telomeres the tip ends of chromosomes. The findings appear in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Telomeres play crucial roles in aging, cancer and other biological processes. Their importance was recognized last month, when three scientists were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for determining the structure of telomeres and discovering how they protect chromosomes from degrading.

Telomeres are relatively short sections of specialized DNA that sit at the ends of all chromosomes. One of the Nobel Prize winners, Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., of the University of California at San Francisco, has compared telomeres to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling.

Each time a cell divides, its telomeres erode slightly and become progressively shorter with each cell division. Eventually, telomeres become so short that their host cells stop dividing and lapse into a condition called cell senescence. As a result, vital tissues and important organs begin to fail and the classical signs of aging ensue.

In investigating the role of telomeres in aging, the Einstein researchers studied Ashkenazi Jews because they are a homogeneous population that was already well studied genetically. Three groups were enrolled: 86 very old but generally healthy people (average age 97); 175 of their offspring; and 93 controls (offspring of parents who had lived a normal lifespan).

"Telomeres are one piece of the puzzle that accounts for why some people can live so long," says Gil Atzmon, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of genetics at Einstein, Genetic Core Leader for The LonGenity Project at Einstein's Institute for Aging Research, and a lead author of the paper. "Our research was meant to answer two questions: Do people who live long lives tend to have long telomeres? And if so, could variations in their genes that code for telomerase account for their long telomeres?"

The answer to both questions was "yes."

"As we suspected, humans of exceptional longevity are better able to maintain the length of their telomeres," said Yousin Suh, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and of genetics at Einstein and senior author of the paper. "And we found that they owe their longevity, at least in part, to advantageous variants of genes involved in telomere maintenance."

More specifically, the researchers found that participants who have lived to a very old age have inherited mutant genes that make their telomerase-making system extra active and able to maintain telomere length more effectively. For the most part, these people were spared age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which cause most deaths among elderly people.

"Our findings suggest that telomere length and variants of telomerase genes combine to help people live very long lives, perhaps by protecting them from the diseases of old age," says Dr. Suh. "We're now trying to understand the mechanism by which these genetic variants of telomerase maintain telomere length in centenarians. Ultimately, it may be possible to develop drugs that mimic the telomerase that our centenarians have been blessed with."


'/>"/>

Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Environmental cues control reproductive timing and longevity, University of Minnesota study shows
2. Living longer thanks to the longevity gene
3. Longevity, cancer and diet connected: New research in worms could apply to humans
4. Men shed light on the mystery of human longevity, study finds
5. Study finds 231 new genes associated with head and neck cancer
6. Young age at first drink may affect genes and risk for alcoholism
7. Genes may explain why children who live without dads have earlier sex
8. Evolution coup: Study reveals how plants protect their genes
9. Michigan Tech scientists identify genes linked to Lou Gehrigs disease
10. Finding the ZIP-code for gene therapy: Scientists imitate viruses to deliver therapeutic genes
11. Faster, cheaper way to find disease genes in human genome passes initial test
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... -- "Increase in mobile transactions is driving the growth ... is expected to grow from USD 4.03 billion in ... CAGR of 29.3% between 2016 and 2022. The market ... for smart devices, government initiatives, and increasing penetration of ... expected to grow at a high rate during the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Market Research Future published ... Market. The global Mobile Biometric Security and Service Market is expected ... to 2022. Market Highlights: ... , , Mobile Biometric ... due to the increasing need of authentication and security from unwanted ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016 According to a new market research report "Emotion ... Expression, Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast ... USD 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021, at a ... Reading ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017  Market Research Future has a half ... for Liquid Biopsy is growing rapidly and expected to reach USD ... Market Highlights ... Global Liquid Biopsy Market has been assessed as a swiftly growing ... and boom in the coming future. There has been a tremendous ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... November ... to leading biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and regulators, is proud to announce ... Part 11-compliant email client designed to provide product vigilance departments with the flexibility ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... LabRoots , ... from around the world, was today awarded the "Best Science & Technology Social ... on merit and decided upon by a dedicated team of researchers and analysts. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Acupath Laboratories, ... announces the formation of an Executive Committee that will ... beyond. John Cucci , a 15-year ... from Director of Business Development to Chief Sales ... Mr. Cucci served in senior sales leadership roles at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: