Opinion

... in response to Telomeres and Cancer
  1. Vadim Shapoval Vadim Shapoval Ukraine says:

    Telomeres (the specific DNA-protein structures) found at both ends of each chromosome, protect genome from nucleolytic degradation, unnecessary recombination, repair, and interchromosomal fusion. Telomere length decreases with age. Certain individuals may be born with shorter telomeres or may have genetic disorder leading to shorter telomeres. Telomeres are created by telomerases. Several studies indicate that shorter telomeres are a risk factor for cancer. Shorter telomeres can induce genomic instability. Telomerases (ribonucleoprotein enzymes) are reactivated in most cancerous immortalized cells. Lysosomal alterations are common in cancerous cells. Lysosomes control cell death at several levels. Defects in cellular iron metabolism can cause the Warburg effect. Many cancerous cells are considered immortal because telomerase activity and lysosomal alterations allows them to divide virtually forever. However, subsets of immortalized cells lack telomerase activity. Iron is an essential cellular nutrient that is critical for DNA synthesis (for many cellular processes). Ribonucleotide reductase is an iron-dependent enzyme that is required for DNA synthesis. Iron is so important that without it all life would cease to exist. In human cells, iron is an essential component of hundreds of proteins and enzymes. Heme is an iron-containing compound found in a number of biologically important molecules. Cytochromes are heme-containing (and iron-containing) compounds that have important roles in mitochondrial electron transport. Nonheme iron-containing enzymes are also critical to energy metabolism. Iron Response Elements are short sequences of nucleotides found in the messenger RNA (mRNA). Several genetic disorders and all known human carcinogens may lead to pathological accumulation of iron in the cells. While iron is an essential mineral, it is potentially carcinogenic. The presence of excessive iron inside cancerous cells can lead to telomere end-replication problems, lysosomal alterations, mitochondrial dysfunction (Warburg effect), DNA mutations, chromosomal abnormalities (deletions, duplications, inversions, ring formations, translocations), chromothripsis and mitotic catastrophes. Primary tumors always develop at body sites of excessive iron deposits.

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