08 Apr Telomere Looping Flips the Switch on Gene Expression
A team of scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have recently discovered a potential looping mechanism that involves the telomeres of DNA and their relation to cell aging and onset of aged-caused disease.
The researchers found that the telomeres form loops between the DNA in different chromosomes. These loops can determine which genes are turned off early in life and which become activated later in life.
When telomeres are long, they have the ability to form “loops” with the chromosome to reach and affect genes previously thought to be out-of-reach of normal telomere length. By connecting with gene sequences on the same chromosome, telomeres can sometimes switch these genes off. This could be very useful if there is a problem-causing gene sequence that needs to be shut-off.
Telomeres with shorter lengths do not have the capacity to loop and positively affect the gene sequences of the chromosome in this manner. These findings represent another reason showing why it is beneficial to maintain the length of one’s telomeres