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de Jesus B.B.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Circulation research | Year: 2012

A major goal in cancer and aging research is to discriminate the biochemical modifications that happen locally that could account for the healthiness or malignancy of tissues. Senescence is one general antiproliferative cellular process that acts as a strong barrier for cancer progression, playing a crucial role in aging. Here, we focus on the current methods to assess cellular senescence, discriminating the advantages and disadvantages of several senescence biomarkers. Source

Schneider R.P.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Nature communications | Year: 2013

TRF1 is a component of the shelterin complex that protects chromosome ends. TRF1 deficiency leads to early embryonic lethality and to severe organ atrophy when deleted in adult tissues. Here we generate a reporter mouse carrying a knock-in eGFP-TRF1 fusion allele to study the role of TRF1 in stem cell biology and tissue homeostasis. We find that eGFP-TRF1 expression in mice is maximal in known adult stem cell compartments and show that TRF1 ensures their functionality. eGFP-TRF1 is highly expressed in induced pluripotent stem cells, uncoupled from the telomere elongation associated with reprogramming. Selection of eGFP-TRF1-high induced pluripotent stem cells correlates with higher pluripotency as indicated by their ability to form teratomas and chimeras. We further show that TRF1 is necessary for both induction and maintenance of pluripotency, and that TRF1 is a direct transcriptional target of Oct3/4. Source

Lopez-Otin C.,University of Oviedo | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Partridge L.,Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing | Partridge L.,University College London | And 4 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2013

Aging is characterized by a progressive loss of physiological integrity, leading to impaired function and increased vulnerability to death. This deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human pathologies, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Aging research has experienced an unprecedented advance over recent years, particularly with the discovery that the rate of aging is controlled, at least to some extent, by genetic pathways and biochemical processes conserved in evolution. This Review enumerates nine tentative hallmarks that represent common denominators of aging in different organisms, with special emphasis on mammalian aging. These hallmarks are: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. A major challenge is to dissect the interconnectedness between the candidate hallmarks and their relative contributions to aging, with the final goal of identifying pharmaceutical targets to improve human health during aging, with minimal side effects. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Lopez de Silanes I.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Nature communications | Year: 2010

Telomeres are transcribed from the telomeric C-rich strand, giving rise to UUAGGG repeat-containing telomeric transcripts or TERRA, which are novel structural components of telomeres. TERRA abundance is highly dependent on developmental status (including nuclear reprogramming), telomere length, cellular stresses, tumour stage and chromatin structure. However, the molecular mechanisms and factors controlling TERRA levels are still largely unknown. In this study, we identify a set of RNA-binding proteins, which endogenously bind and regulate TERRA in the context of primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The identification was carried out by biotin pull-down assays followed by LC-MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Different members of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein family are among the ribonucleoprotein family that bind more abundantly to TERRA. Downregulation of TERRA-bound RBPs by small interfering RNA further shows that they can impact on TERRA abundance, their location and telomere lengthening. These findings anticipate an impact of TERRA-associated RBPs on telomere biology and telomeres diseases, such as cancer and aging. Source

Martinez P.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Aging Cell | Year: 2010

Mammalian telomeres are formed by tandem repeats of the TTAGGG sequence bound by a specialized six-protein complex known as shelterin, which has fundamental roles in the regulation of telomere length and telomere capping. In the past, the study of mice genetically modified for telomerase components has been instrumental to demonstrate the role of telomere length in cancer and aging. Recent studies using genetically modified mice for shelterin proteins have highlighted an equally important role of telomere-bound proteins in cancer and aging, even in the presence of proficient telomerase activity and normal telomere length. In this review, we will focus on recent findings, suggesting a role of shelterin components in cancer and aging. © 2010 The Authors Aging Cell © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Source

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