Age-related telomere attrition causes aberrant gene expression in sub-telomeric regions

Xiao Dong, Shixiang Sun, Lei Zhang, Seungsoo Kim, Zhidong Tu, Cristina Montagna, Alexander Y. Maslov, Yousin Suh, Tao Wang, Judith Campisi, Jan Vijg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Telomere attrition has been proposed as a biomarker and causal factor in aging. In addition to causing cellular senescence and apoptosis, telomere shortening has been found to affect gene expression in subtelomeric regions. Here, we analyzed the distribution of age-related differentially expressed genes from the GTEx RNA sequencing database of 54 tissue types from 979 human subjects and found significantly more upregulated than downregulated genes in subtelomeric regions as compared to the genome-wide average. Our data demonstrate spatial relationships between telomeres and gene expression in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13357
JournalAging cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Drs. Sofiya Milman, Nir Barzilai, David Reynolds, Jidong Shan, and Jinghang Zhang at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for their helpful suggestions during this work. We also thank our two reviewers for many helpful suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the NIH to XD (K99 AG056656), YS (P01 AG017242), JC (P01 AG017242), and JV (P01 AG017242, P01 AG047200, U19 AG056278, P30 AG038072 and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • aging
  • gene expression
  • telomere shortening


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