Endogenous Retroelements in Cellular Senescence and Related Pathogenic Processes: Promising Drug Targets in Age-Related Diseases

Author(s): Maurizio Cardelli, Robertina Giacconi, Marco Malavolta and Mauro Provinciali

Volume 17, Issue 4, 2016

Page: [416 - 427] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1389450116666150518095829

Price: $65


Endogenous retroelements (ERs) represent nearly half of the human genome. Considered up to recent years as “functionless” DNA sequences, they are now known to be involved in important cellular functions such as stress response and generation of non coding regulatory RNAs. Moreover, an increasing amount of data supports the idea of ERs as key players in cellular senescence and in different senescence-related pathogenic cellular processes, including those leading to inflammation, cancer and major age-related multifactorial diseases. The involvement of ERs in these biological mechanisms can suggest new therapeutic strategies in neoplasms, inflammatory/autoimmune diseases and in different age-related pathologies, such as macular degeneration, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and major age-related neurodegenerative disorders. The therapeutic approaches which can be suggested range from a set of well-known, common drugs that have been shown to modulate ERs activity, to immune therapy against ER-derived tumor antigens, to more challenging strategies such as those based on anti-ERs RNA interference.

Keywords: Alu, cancer, age-related diseases, cellular senescence, drugs, inflammation, LINE-1, retrotransposons.

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