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Mol Cell Biol. Jun 1996; 16(6): 2932–2939.
PMCID: PMC231287

Regulation of telomerase activity in immortal cell lines.

Abstract

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein whose activity has been detected in germ line cells, immortal cells, and most cancer cells. Except in stem cells, which have a low level of telomerase activity, its activity is absent from normal somatic tissues. Understanding the regulation of telomerase activity is critical for the development of potential tools for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol, we found that immortal, telomerase-positive, pseudodiploid human cells (HT1080 and HL60 cells) sorted by flow repressed in quiescent cells. This was true whether quiescence was induced by contact inhibition (NIH 3T3 mouse cells), growth factor removal (bromodeoxyuridine-blocked mouse myoblasts), reexpression of cellular senescence (the reversibly immortalized IDH4 cells), or irreversible cell differentiation (HL60 promyelocytic leukemia cells and C2C12 mouse myoblasts). Taken together, these results indicate that telomerase is active throughout the cell in dividing, immortal cells but that its activity is repressed in cells that exit the cell cycle. This suggests that quiescent stem cells that have the potential to express telomerase may remain unaffected by potential antitelomerase cancer therapies.

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Selected References

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