Telomeres and Telomerase

Telomeres are small units composed of the tandem DNA repeats and associated proteins, which cap the end of linear chromosomes and are responsible for maintaining chromosome length. They provide stability to the chromosome and protect against DNA loss associated with cellular replication. The mechanism of replicative arrest of senescent cells has been related to changes in the function of telomerase, a nuclear enzyme that synthesizes and maintains the telomeres. Shortening and uncapping of these structures, related to the number of past cell divisions, renders the DNA strand incapable of replication.

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