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Exp Gerontol. 2001 Nov;36(10):1639-47.

Telomeres at the chromosome X(p) might be critical in limiting the proliferative potential of human cells.

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College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, People's Republic of China.


Normal human somatic cells can only divide for a limited number of times. This phenomenon has been regarded as a reflection of individual aging at the cellular level. Experimental evidences suggest that a cell's division potential is limited by the physical length of telomeres that gradually shorten through successive cell divisions. At present, it is not clear whether such a limit is imposed by the overall shortening of all telomeres or the shortening of certain critical ones. Computer simulations have suggested that among the 92 telomeres in human cells, two specific telomeres might be preferentially involved in such process. Recent experiment has shown that in a culture of male human cells, the length of the telomeres at the chromosome X(p) is reserved over the later passages during clonal proliferation. This unique feature, if can be further confirmed in other cells, implies a critical role of the telomeres at X(p) in limiting the proliferation capacity of human cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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