Aging cells lose their grip on DNA rogues

A younger cell’s game

Cells control harmful transposons in DNA by wrapping them tightly around nucleosomes and packing them into chromatin fibers. The ability to maintain control of harmful transposons diminishes as cells age. Credit: Darryl Leja/National Human Genome Research Institute

Transposable elements are mobile strands of DNA that insert themselves into chromosomes with mostly harmful consequences. Cells try to keep them locked down, but in a new study, Brown University researchers report that aging cells lose their ability to maintain this control. The result may be a further decline in the health of senescent cells and of the aging bodies they compose.