The Epigenetic Regulation of Telomere Maintenance in Aging

Huda Adwan-Shekhidem, Gil Atzmon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Aging is a complex process influenced by a combination of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors. Genetic components donate almost 30% of the aging phenotypic variance, while epigenetic modifications that serve as environment X gene mediator are considered to be the major contributors. Epigenetic modifications (i.e., DNA methylation and histone modifications) can affect the gene expression and genomic stability and thus underlie age-associated diseases. Another mechanism found to be involved (may serve as a biomarker) with aging process is telomere attrition. Cellular telomeres shorten with age until a critical length, which results in a vital genomic material loss, thus triggering the cell to enter replicative senescence. This attrition is compensated by telomerase activity that maintains telomere length and support cell proliferation. Telomere length and telomerase activity are also regulated by epigenetic modifications that shape the telomere structure and influence its maintenance. Furthermore, telomeres can regulate epigenetic factors affecting gene expression of nearby genes. In sum, there is a clear cross talk between telomeres maintenance and epigenetic modifications that accompanied aging and age-related pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEpigenetics of Aging and Longevity
Subtitle of host publicationTranslational Epigenetics vol 4
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780128110607
ISBN (Print)9780128110836
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Aging
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic modification
  • Histone modification
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere
  • Telomere maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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