Noncoding RNAs Controlling Telomere Homeostasis in Senescence and Aging

Trends Mol Med. 2020 Apr;26(4):422-433. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2020.01.010. Epub 2020 Feb 28.


Aging is a universal and time-dependent biological decline associated with progressive deterioration of cells, tissues, and organs. Age-related decay can eventually lead to pathology such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and diabetes. A prominent molecular process underlying aging is the progressive shortening of telomeres, the structures that protect the ends of chromosomes, eventually triggering cellular senescence. Noncoding (nc)RNAs are emerging as major regulators of telomere length homeostasis. In this review, we describe the impact of ncRNAs on telomere function and discuss their implications in senescence and age-related diseases. We discuss emerging therapeutic strategies targeting telomere-regulatory ncRNAs in aging pathology.

Keywords: TERC; TERT; genomic instability; long noncoding RNAs; miRNA; telomerase activity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural