NEWS: Werner's Syndrome Gene, cancer and aging

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 14:54:35 MST

The online version of PNAS has an article today by Haim Cohen
and David Sinclair from the Harvard Medical school regarding
the function of the S. cerevisiae SGS1 homolog of the Wener's
Syndrome (WRN) gene.

It looks like the WRN gene may play an essential role in
keeping the telomeres long and/or signaling the presense
of short telomeres to the cell division machinery. So
cancers that do not activate telomerase to produce long
telomeres to contine dividing, may instead produce a
mutant form of WRN that either lengthens the telomeres
itself or doesn't properly signal that they are short.

The perspective that cancer and the cellular senescence aspects of aging
are opposite sides of the same coin seems to be getting stronger.
I'd be very surprised if this picture wasn't complete within
the next five years.

PNAS Link:
SCiAm Link:

If anyone is at an institution that has access to the PDF
preprint of the PNAS article and wants to send it to me,
I'd appreciate it.

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