A team of researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has discovered a new mechanism that accelerates the shortening of telomeres (structures that protect the ends of chromosomes) involved in genetic instability and a predisposition to cancer. The research has been published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.
DNA in higher organisms is organised into individual chromosomes, the ends of which are protected by structures called telomeres. Telomeres are very important in maintaining the cells’ genetic integrity, as they prevent the chromosomes from joining together, protect their ends from degradation and are involved in segregating chromosomes properly during cellular division. They also play a decisive role in two fields that are very important in social and biological terms: cancer and ageing. Telomeres gradually shorten and thus indicate the point at which the cell dies and control the proper proliferation of tissues.
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has observed that telomeres may shorten more quickly due to sudden breakages in the DNA sequence that they consist of. The scientists made this discovery by analysing cells from a genetic syndrome called Fanconi’s anaemia, which is typified by a high genetic instability and chromosomal fragility, and which causes a very high predisposition to contracting cancer in harbourers (a risk of leukaemia 15,000 times higher than in a healthy person). The researchers have observed that the telomeres of affected patients present an accelerated shortening owing to breakages in the telomeric DNA sequence, leading to chromosomes being unprotected and joining together. This mechanism may explain patients’ symtomatology and their tendency to contract cancer. The research thus provides a first experimental link between a predisposition to cancer with the mechanism of sudden shortening of telomeres.
Octavi López Coronado | alphagalileo
World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
20.07.2017 | Information Technology
20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy