Scientists have created the first detailed picture of the molecular structure of the human telomerase enzyme, an advance that could lead to the development of new drugs for aging and cancer.
In the journal Nature, researchers describe the three-dimensional (3D) molecular structure of human telomerase.
"It took a long time, it took a lot of persistence," said Kathleen Collins, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the US.
A bottleneck has received pure samples of this complex "The molecule consists of an RNA backbone decorated by six types of protein that move to the ends of chromosomes when DNA is added.
Laboratories around the world have discusses whether the enzyme acts individually or as linked twins, and how and how many proteins decorate the RNA backbone, they said.
Without consensus on these issues, it has proven difficult to find a drug against the molecular Developing a machine and either destroying telomerase activity ̵
The newly discovered structure still lacks fine details but combined with knowledge of the gene A sequence of human telomerase provides enough information to talk about thinking about potential drug targets, said Thi Hoang Duong Nguyen, postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley.
"The best previous images of human telomerase had a resolution of only 30 angstroms, and we were able to achieve a resolution of about 7 to 8 angstroms using cryo-electron microscopy," said Nguyen.
"When I came to the point where I could see all the subunits – we had a total of 11 protein subunits – it was a moment" Wow, wow, they all fit together, "Nguyen said.
Telomeres first became available in the late 1970s by Elizabeth Blackburn, then at UC Berkeley and now at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies demonstrated at the molecular level in California
When working with the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena, she and her colleagues demonstrated that the ends of the chromosomes pass through
Endowed with telomere knowledge, the researchers then showed telomeres in multicellular tissues Organisms get shorter when a cell divides.
The telomeres protect the DNA strands from fraying and become engorged their ends are damaged, much like the plastic tip at the end of a shoe lace.
The fact that they fall off with every drop c It wi Suppose that the Ell division protects us from cancer when a cell is kidnapped and continually replicates.
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