University of Texas, Southwest Medical Center
Role of telomeres and telomerase in human aging.
Telomere length appears to be critically involved in cellular senescence and in cellular immortality. Telomerase shortening results in cellular senescence, while stabilization of telomere length results in cellular immortality and cancer. Regulation of telomere length is usually, but not always, maintained by levels of the enzyme telomerase. Dr. Shay proposes to clarify alternative mechanisms to maintain telomeres, determine the mechanism by which shortening of telomeres induces cellular senescence, and investigate the genetic mechanism underlying the premature aging syndrome, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria.