Tag Archives: Telomeres

Starr collaboration illuminates mysterious pathway to immortality in cancer cells

A detailed analysis of a large panel of so-called ALT cell lines shows that they frequently undergo chromosomal changes and are impaired in their ability to detect and repair damage in their DNA. The work suggests a mechanism by which 10 to 15 percent of human cancers develop. More »

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Handle with care: Telomeres resemble DNA fragile sites

Although telomeres are fragile, they don’t have to be handled with care. Researchers at Rockefeller University now show that what keeps our fragile telomeres from falling apart is a protein known as TRF1 that ensures the smooth progression of DNA replication to the end of a chromosome. The work not only shows how telomeres help chromosomes protect their vulnerable ends but also reveals how the genome is made more stable by them. More »

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Scientists discover how a well-known protein repairs broken DNA ends

In the first-ever study to film live footage of protected and unprotected telomeres, scientists have discovered how a protein called 53BP1 helps fuse dangly DNA ends in need of repair. The findings could change how scientists think about double-stranded DNA breaks — the most lethal type of DNA damage — and also leads to new insights about how the human immune system adapts to new threats. More »

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Eroded telomeres are behind a rare premature aging syndrome

At a time when the world seems to be age-obsessed, researchers at Rockefeller University reveal the molecular defect behind a rare yet fatal premature aging syndrome, findings that may ultimately help scientists disentangle which genes play a role in the normal aging process from those involved in age-related disease. More »

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Mammalian protein plays unexpected role in cell division, and perhaps cancer

In yeast, the protein Tel2 regulates the length of telomeres, DNA sequences that protect the ends of linear chromosomes. But in humans and mice, Tel2 does nothing of the sort. Instead, researchers at Rockefeller University are the first to show that mammalian Tel2 prevents the degradation of a family of six proteins that primarily regulate cell division and proliferation, an unexpected role that may be linked to cancer. More »

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Two proteins found on telomeres control DNA damage response pathways

The shelterin complex, which binds specifically to telomeres, has a built-in mechanism to repress DNA damage response pathways at chromosome ends. More »

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Living cells prosper without telomeres


In most cells, telomeres are a critical protection against death: If these caps at the ends of chromosomes fail, the cell’s life is cut short. But what’s true for most cells isn’t true for all cells, and a surprising new finding from Rockefeller University shows that cells in the livers of living mice have the remarkable ability to function without telomeres. More »

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Evidence of rapid evolution is found at the tips of chromosomes

Humans like to think of themselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder, but new research from Titia de Lange’s lab at Rockefeller University shows that we may have slipped a few rungs in favor of a smaller, fuzzier mammal. While studying the role of a protein called POT1 in telomeres, de Lange’s lab found that mice have evolved ahead, expanding the one gene found in humans into two, each with a distinct function. Their research has important implications for the future of telomere biology. More »

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How Aging Cells Retire

As we grow older, our hair turns gray, our bones grow thin and, among other changes, our telomeres shrink. But, more than markers of the passage of time, telomeres, the tips of chromosomes, may harbor answers to the fundamental mechanisms of aging and cancer. More »

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Newly Identified Protein Caps Chromosomes Ends

A newly isolated protein is a vital part of human telomeres, the shields that guard the ends of chromosomes against damage and destruction. Scientists at Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center report their identification and cloning of the protein in the Dec. 8 Science. More »

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