Deciphering Telomerase

Telomerase, the enzyme responsible for lengthening telomeres, is important in many areas of aging and cancer research. However, as ScienceDaily reports, scientists are still working on understanding it and lowering the cost of researching it: researchers have now "identified two new proteins that make up the telomerase complex and have a lead on several more. This is the first significant step toward understanding the makeup of telomerase since 1999. ... describe two protein components of telomerase. They also show that disabling one of the proteins brings telomerase to a grinding halt. Although the work was done in cells in a lab dish, the findings suggest that a drug blocking that protein may be a useful tool against cancer. ... one problem with studying telomerase is that it's available in such small quantities. Growing huge vats of cancer cells in the lab still only results in miniscule amounts of protein. Until recently, no technology was sensitive enough to analyze proteins at such minute levels." This is the path that leads to cheaply produced telomerase for research, as well as better approaches to manipulate its actions in cells.


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