(Last Updated On: February 15, 2021)
The Role of Telomeres in Aging and Carcinogenesis
Aging is an inevitable biological process that occurs every day, perhaps, this very minute as well. It is important to maintain our biochemical, physical, and morphological functions running. Multiple types of research done in Boca Raton FL have revealed that the biological component, telomeres go hand in hand with the process of aging.
The phenomenon that influences the telomere age in the body plays a huge role in determining whether an individual will face a chronic disease or not. Consequently, telomere age indirectly determines the quality of an individual’s life.
How does biological aging occur?
Biological aging is a process that takes place as a result of multiple cellular processes. These cellular processes can cause both genetic and physiological changes.
However, research has shown that once a particular phenotype is achieved, the cells become silent and the metabolization process stops there and then.
At times, the cellular process can malfunction resulting in molecular damages. This happens because of genetic factors as well as outside influences as well such as exposure to radiation, environmental effects, etc.
Role of Mitosis in Biological Aging
Mitosis is the process of cell division which is conducted by the brain of the cell, the nucleus. During mitosis, the genetic material of the cell is duplicated. The chromosomes turn highly compiled and replicate to form sister chromatids. The duplicated genetic material is then transferred to the newly formed cells.
The chromosomes, present inside the nucleus consists of genes and DNA that play an important role in the cell cycle. They are also responsible for the function and regulation of the telomeres.
In the process of mitosis, a certain area of the telomeres is deleted, this is important in setting a biological clock for the cell division and mitosis. This signifies the end of mitosis. When this occurs, the cell aging process starts. Hence, determine the cell aging process.
The senescence or cell death can also be seen by the absence of the enzyme telomerase. This results in small-sized telomeres and the oxidative stress in the cell increases. Once the senescence cycle has finished, the process of cell death starts by a biological process known as apoptosis.
Development of tumor cells
The somatic cells in our body can show unstoppable cell division resulting in the formation of tumor cells. This happens because even when the cell is in the senescence stage, the telomerase activity can start again, as a result, the nucleus loses control of the cell cycle. The cell becomes immortal.
Such cells that have the ability to turn into tumors comprise of short telomeres and have multiple mutations in their genetic codes, resulting in abnormalities. The overall presence of free radicals during senescence and a compromised cell division will eventually lead to carcinogenesis.
Molecular Composition of the Telomeres
The telomeres are present at the ends of the chromosomes and are made of nucleoprotein that consists of repeating DNA codes. Complex protein structures are present at the ends of the telomeres to protect them from telomerase activity.
After every mitotic cycle, the chromosomes decrease in size since a part of the telomeric region is lost. With time, the telomeres totally disappear and the process of cell death begins. The decrease in the length of chromosomes is the main factor that determines the length of cell division. Hence, it is directly associated with the cell aging process.
As the telomeres lose their size and the chromosomes shorten, the DNA cannot replicate its helix and the cell division stops. Eventually, as the chromosomes disappear, there would be no DNA template present for the replicated segment to form.
As already discussed, telomeres are regions of complex DNA that are [present at the end of the chromosomes. They have a function to perform which is to protect the chromosomes from any injury. They maintain the integrity of the genetic material that determines the phenotype.
Telomeres are shaped in loops which helps them maintain their stable position and protects them from degradation by enzymes. The telomere theory states that during the cell aging process, the cell loses a part of its DNA and chromosomes shorten eventually dying after a certain time.
Summing It Up
Anormal cell division can lead to carcinogenesis. This is a gradual process that occurs over years and eventually leads to the formation of tumors. This has to pass through multiple stages before a tumor is formed.
Many types of cancerous cells are form because of environmental factors however the genome of the individual also plays an equally important role. If an individual has a family history of carcinogenesis then it is likely that he has higher chances of developing cancer.