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J Immunol. 1998 Jun 15;160(12):5702-6.

Cutting edge: antigen-dependent regulation of telomerase activity in murine T cells.

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  • 1Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. KarenvHathcock@nih.gov


Telomeres, structures on the ends of linear chromosomes, function to maintain chromosomal integrity. Telomere shortening occurs with cell division and provides a mechanism for limiting the replicative potential of normal human somatic cells. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme, synthesizes telomeric repeats on chromosomal termini, potentially extending the capacity for cell division. The present study demonstrates that resting T cells express little/no activity, and optimal Ag-specific induction of telomerase activity in vitro requires both TCR and CD28-B7 costimulatory signals. Regulation of telomerase in T cells during in vivo Ag-dependent activation was also assessed by adoptive transfer of TCR transgenic T cells and subsequent Ag challenge. Under these conditions, telomerase was induced in transgenic T cells coincident with a phase of extensive clonal expansion. These findings suggest that telomerase may represent an adoptive response that functions to preserve replicative potential in Ag-reactive lymphocytes.

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