Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS OF BLACKBURN & GRIEDER'S NOBEL PRIZE WINNING PAPER REPORTING THE DISCOVERY OF THE ENZYME NOW KNOWN AS ‘TELOMERASE’. The award of the Nobel Prize recognizes the discovery of a fundamental mechanism in the cell, a discovery that has stimulated the development of new therapeutic strategies. As a side note, this work is cited in Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Dr. Carol Greider and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn played an important roll in solving a significant problem in biology, namely, “how the chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation. The Nobel Laureates have shown that the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes – the telomeres – and in an enzyme that forms them – telomerase” (Nobel Prize Portal). “
The long, thread-like DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, the telomeres being the caps on their ends. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase.
“If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed. This is the case in cancer cells, which can be considered to have eternal life. Certain inherited diseases, in contrast, are characterized by a defective telomerase, resulting in damaged cells.
“Carol Greider, then a graduate student, and her supervisor Blackburn started to investigate if the formation of telomere DNA could be due to an unknown enzyme. On Christmas Day, 1984, Greider discovered signs of enzymatic activity in a cell extract. Greider and Blackburn named the enzyme telomerase, purified it, and showed that it consists of RNA as well as protein. The RNA component turned out to contain the CCCCAA sequence. It serves as the template when the telomere is built, while the protein component is required for the construction work, i.e. the enzymatic activity. Telomerase extends telomere DNA, providing a platform that enables DNA polymerases to copy the entire length of the chromosome without missing the very end portion” (Nobel Prize Portal).
Greider and Blackburn (as well as Jack Szostak) were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for the discoveries they report in this paper. Item #742
CONDITION & DETAILS: Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Large 4to. (11 x 8.5 inches; 275 x 213mm). Original printed wraps. Near fine condition inside and out.