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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Jul 14;273(3):1095-8.

Transient expression of human telomerase extends the life span of normal human fibroblasts.

Author information

1
Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-9039, USA.

Abstract

We utilized the Cre/lox recombination system to transiently express the catalytic subunit of telomerase (hTERT) in normal diploid foreskin fibroblasts (BJ cells). A retroviral construct containing an hTERT cDNA, flanked by loxP-sites was introduced into near senescent BJ cells (population doubling 85). At population doubling (PD) 92, which exceeds the typical life span of these cells, we excised the gene via Cre-mediated recombination. All clones lost telomerase activity and showed telomere shortening over an additional 50 PDs. Interestingly, the average telomere length in these cells became shorter than in untreated BJ cells at senescence. This may be due to hTERT preferentially elongating the shortest telomeres, leading to greater length uniformity. In summary, transient telomerase expression and only a very small average telomere elongation by hTERT resulted in a 50% increase in life span of human fibroblasts. This suggests a potentially safe use of hTERT in tissue engineering.

PMID:
10891377
DOI:
10.1006/bbrc.2000.3080
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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