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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Gene expression profiling in Werner syndrome closely resembles that of normal aging.

Werner syndrome ( WS) is a premature aging disorder, displaying defects in DNA replication, recombination, repair, and transcription. It has been hypothesized that several WS phenotypes are secondary consequences of aberrant gene expression and that a transcription defect may be crucial to the development of the syndrome. We used cDNA microarrays to characterize the expression of 6,912 genes and ESTs across a panel of 15 primary human fibroblast cell lines derived from young donors, old donors, and WS patients. Of the analyzed genes, 6.3% displayed significant differences in expression when either WS or old donor cells were compared with young donor cells. This result demonstrates that the WS transcription defect is specific to certain genes. Transcription alterations in WS were strikingly similar to those in normal aging: 91% of annotated genes displayed similar expression changes in WS and in normal aging, 3% were unique to WS, and 6% were unique to normal aging. We propose that a defect in the transcription of the genes as identified in this study could produce many of the complex clinical features of WS. The remarkable similarity between WS and normal aging suggests that WS causes the acceleration of a normal aging mechanism. This finding supports the use of WS as an aging model and implies that the transcription alterations common to WS and normal aging represent general events in the aging process.[1]


  1. Gene expression profiling in Werner syndrome closely resembles that of normal aging. Kyng, K.J., May, A., Kølvraa, S., Bohr, V.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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