Saturday, August 30, 2008

Est Proteins and Telomeres

Keeping Cells Youthful: How Telomere-building Proteins Get Drawn Into The Fold is a Science Daily article providing information about findings made by researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. A protein aids in the elongation of chromosome ends (telomeres) and in so doing prolongs cellular function as reported in the journal Nature Structure and Molecular Biology. The integrity of telomeres is maintained by a complex of proteins, which from an origins vantage point, makes irreducible complexity a natural perspective.

What is it about telomeres that is associated with problematic cell function? As the article explains cell division tends to result in telomeres becoming progressively shorter. If the progression continues unchecked, affected cells eventually lose their capacity to divide. The solution to this dilemna is an enzyme known as telomerase whose function is to restore the needed length to telomeres following cell division. Telomerase is not a solo performer however. Another protein known as Est1 has been found to help to bring telomerase to telomeres in yeast cells.

Researchers discovered that a protein known as Est3 is similar to a protein found in mammals which is labeled TPP1. TPP1 binds to telomeres and protects them from cellular repair enzymes which might interpret the chromosome ends as damaged DNA. A protein fold common to Est3 and TPP1 facilitates their function.

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