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Leukemia. 2000 Jul;14(7):1260-5.

Ectopic expression of c-myc fails to overcome downregulation of telomerase activity induced by herbimycin A, but ectopic hTERT expression overcomes it.

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Department of Pediatrics, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Telomerase plays a key role in the maintenance of chromosomal stability in tumors, but the mechanism regulating telomerase activity is still unclear. Recent studies have suggested that c-myc may be vital for regulation of hTERT mRNA expression and telomerase activity. In this study, we investigated the changes of telomerase activity and telomerase-related genes induced by herbimycin A in K562 human chronic myelogeous leukemic cells. Telomerase activity showed a biphasic pattern in herbimycin A-treated K562 cells. Initially, the telomerase activity decreased along with the decline of cells in S and G2/M phases, but it recovered slightly at the end of treatment. Expression of mRNA for the telomerase catalytic subunit (hTERT) was decreased before the decline of telomerase activity, and increased slightly before the reactivation of telomerase activity. During herbimycin A treatment, both c-myc and cyclin D1 mRNA showed transient downregulation before the increase of G1 cells. Herbimycin A treatment caused the downregulation of both telomerase activity and hTERT mRNA in cyclin D1-transfected K562 cells, while telomerase activity was partially restored in c-Myc-transfected cells. In contrast, hTERT-transfected K562 cells maintained a high level of telomerase activity during herbimycin A treatment. Neither the template RNA component of telomerase (hTERC) nor telomerase-associated protein (TEP-1) were altered in any of the transfected K562 cells. These results indicate that telomerase activity is mainly regulated by hTERT, and that c-Myc protein is one of the positive regulators of hTERT in leukemic cells but is not enough to counteract the downregulation of telomerase activity by herbimycin A completely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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