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Cell Cycle. 2004 May;3(5):547-9. Epub 2004 May 10.

The frequency of homologous recombination in human ALT cells.

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UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9039, USA.


Instead of telomerase, some immortal cells use the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway (ALT) to maintain their telomeres. There is good evidence that homologous recombination contributes to the ALT mechanism. Using an inducible GFP reporter system to measure the frequency of homologous recombination, we asked whether or not ALT cells exhibited a general change of the recombination machinery. Our results show that the frequency of homologous recombination for non-telomeric sequences in ALT cells is identical to that in telomerase positive cells, irrespective of whether the reporter was present at an intra-chromosomal location or next to a telomeric sequence. We conclude that the underlying recombination defect in ALT cells is restricted to telomeric sequences.

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