Tumor-promoting phorbol esters, like growth factors, elicit pleiotropic responses involving biochemical pathways that lead to different biological responses. Genetic variant cell lines that are resistant to mitogenic, differentiation, or transformation responses to tumor promoters have been valuable tools for understanding the molecular bases of these responses.
The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
The question of whether aging - the process that converts fit adults into frailer adults with a progressively increased risk of illness, injury, and death - is under genetic control is ambiguous, and its answer depends on what one means by aging. Natural selection can select for genes that retard aging, but only in species and niches where the value of prolonged survival outweighs its costs. Although the form aging takes can be affected by variations at many genetic loci the number of loci that moderate the pace of synchronized decay may be far smaller.
Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures at the ends of chromosomes that are composed of a repetitive G rich sequence and telomeric binding proteins. Telomeres prevent the degradation of chromosomal ends and protect against inappropriate recombination. Telomere attrition involves a tumor suppressor pathway that limits the replication of premalignant cells. The loss of telomeric DNA with each round of replication leads to growth arrest accompanied by senescence or apoptosis. Many tumor cells activate the telomerase gene to bypass senescence.
Centenarians represent an extreme of life expectancy. They achieve their exceptional longevity in part by lacking genetic variations linked to premature death. Pedigree studies have shown a substantial familial component in the ability to survive to extreme old age, and a recent study demonstrated a locus on chromosome 4 linked to exceptional longevity, indicating the likely existence of at least one longevity-enabling gene in humans.
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a strictly subterranean, extraordinarily long-lived eusocial mammal. Although it is the size of a mouse, its maximum lifespan exceeds 30 years, making this animal the longest-living rodent. Naked mole rats show negligible senescence, no age-related increase in mortality, and high fecundity until death. In addition to delayed ageing, they are resistant to both spontaneous cancer and experimentally induced tumorigenesis. Naked mole rats pose a challenge to the theories that link ageing, cancer and redox homeostasis.
Evolutionary theory predicts that the different life stages of organisms are coordinated to achieve maximal reproductive output. Moreover, aging can be seen as an evolutionary side effect of this selective process that applies to many living organisms. Hence, genetic, developmental, and physiological mechanisms resulting from this selection are expected to be conserved in diverse lineages. The insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (INS) pathway appears to be such a mechanism that regulates life span and reproduction in a variety of model organisms.
The RNA moiety of the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase from the ciliate Euplotes crassus was identified and its gene was sequenced. Functional analysis, in which oligonucleotides complementary to portions of the telomerase RNA were tested for their ability to prime telomerase in vitro, showed that the sequence 5' CAAAACCCCAAA 3' in this RNA is the template for synthesis of telomeric TTTTGGGG repeats by the Euplotes telomerase. The data provide a direct demonstration of a template function for a telomerase RNA and demarcate the outer boundaries of the telomeric template.
We have determined the complete sequence of the nuclear gene encoding the small subunit (17 S) rRNA of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila. The gene encodes an RNA molecule which is 1753 nucleotides in length. The sequence of the Tetrahymena small subunit rRNA is homologous to those of other eukaryotes, and the predicted secondary structure for the molecule includes features which are characteristic of eukaryotic small subunit rRNAs.
The amplification of ribosomal DNA during development of the somatic macronucleus in Tetrahymena thermophila was analyzed by genetic and molecular biological techniques. We have identified an alternate form of the rDNA, structurally distinguishable from the wild-type by an extra cutting site for Bam HI in its nontranscribed spacer. The altered rDNA was inherited in crosses in a simple Mendelian fashion, consistent with the presence of only one rRNA gene copy per haploid genome in the micronucleus.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
A tandemly repeated DNA hexanucleotide sequence, 5'C-C-C-C-A-A3', that occurs at the termini of extrachromosomal DNA molecules coding for rRNA (rDNA) in Tetrahymena macronuclei was examined to determine whether it is packaged as nucleosomes. This repeated DNA sequence comprises the terminal few hundred base pairs at each end of the linear rDNA molecules.