Telomerase theory becoming more exiciting

From: Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (
Date: Fri Feb 18 2000 - 06:17:06 MST


I must admit the telomerase theory is evolving from an "in vitro" theory to
a fully developed "in vivo" theory. Since I presume many amongst you are not
aware, I'll present a brief review about the latest information on
telomerase (I also need to write a couple of papers and could use the

Telomerase has been found to be highly active in cells from non-aging
species (namely, lobsters and trouts). This means that, for the first time,
we have an "in vivo" indication that telomerase might be used to extend life
span. It has long puzzled researcher advocating the telomerase theory that
certain mice have longer telomeres than us and yet live 20 or 30 times less.
The presence of telomerase in the soma of certain non-aging species is a
good argument for the supporters of the telomerase theory (as for the mice,
perhaps when we have the results from the mice overexpressing telomerase in
the soma we can draw some conclusions). Recent research has also indicates
that other processes affect the telomeres and that telomeres are not just a
simple cellular clock running from conception to death: (1) It has been
shown that other genes affect the size of the telomeres besides telomerase;
(2) Xenopus' (a species lacking reproductive senescence) offspring -- not
all, only a few cases -- was found to have shorter telomeres than their
parents and the telomere length was highly polimorphic when compared between
animals of different ages. Other area open for research is the relation
between telomeres and DNA repair systems -- there are a few papers
indicating a relation but much research is needed. The relation between
telomere loss and gene expression is yet another dark area where much
research is needded. In conclusion, learning the mechanisms regulating the
telomeres will provide useful insights into aging but telomerase itself is
only a part of the story.

Goodbye, I wish you can find something new and useful in my views.

Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
The University of Namur (FUNDP)
Unit of Cellular Biochemistry & Biology
Rue de Bruxelles, 61
B-5000 Namur BELGIUM

Fax: + 32 81 724135
Phone: + 32 81 724133
Reason's Triumph:

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