Document Detail

Telomerase activity coevolves with body mass not lifespan.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17173545     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In multicellular organisms, telomerase is required to maintain telomere length in the germline but is dispensable in the soma. Mice, for example, express telomerase in somatic and germline tissues, while humans express telomerase almost exclusively in the germline. As a result, when telomeres of human somatic cells reach a critical length the cells enter irreversible growth arrest called replicative senescence. Replicative senescence is believed to be an anticancer mechanism that limits cell proliferation. The difference between mice and humans led to the hypothesis that repression of telomerase in somatic cells has evolved as a tumor-suppressor adaptation in large, long-lived organisms. We tested whether regulation of telomerase activity coevolves with lifespan and body mass using comparative analysis of 15 rodent species with highly diverse lifespans and body masses. Here we show that telomerase activity does not coevolve with lifespan but instead coevolves with body mass: larger rodents repress telomerase activity in somatic cells. These results suggest that large body mass presents a greater risk of cancer than long lifespan, and large animals evolve repression of telomerase activity to mitigate that risk.
Andrei Seluanov; Zhuoxun Chen; Christopher Hine; Tais H C Sasahara; Antonio A C M Ribeiro; Kenneth C Catania; Daven C Presgraves; Vera Gorbunova
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-12-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Aging cell     Volume:  6     ISSN:  1474-9718     ISO Abbreviation:  Aging Cell     Publication Date:  2007 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-02-01     Completed Date:  2007-03-30     Revised Date:  2014-09-10    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101130839     Medline TA:  Aging Cell     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  45-52     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Biological Evolution*
Body Weight / physiology*
Cell Aging / physiology
Longevity / physiology*
Organ Specificity
Rats, Inbred F344
Rodentia / physiology*
Species Specificity
Telomerase / metabolism*
Telomere / chemistry
Grant Support
R01 AG027237/AG/NIA NIH HHS; R01 AG027237-01A1/AG/NIA NIH HHS; R01 AG027237-02/AG/NIA NIH HHS; R01 AG027237-03/AG/NIA NIH HHS
Reg. No./Substance:

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