In the increasing search for cancer-specific vulnerabilities, considerable attention has been focused in the past few years on telomeres, the natural termini of eukaryotic chromosomes which are maintained by the enzymatic complex telomerase. The limited capacity to divide is a long-recognized characteristic of normal cells in culture and one that distinguishes them from transformed cells. This finite replicative potential is not linked to the chronological age of the culture, but to the number of cell divisions and to telomere length. Studies in yeast, mice, and humans have shown that telomerase-positive cells can grow indefinitely. However, when telomerase is absent the resulting loss of telomeric DNA from the ends of chromosomes results in the eventual cessation of cell division.
American Journal of Cancer – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 10, 2012
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