Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 April 2010
Telomere length must be maintained throughout cancer cell progression and proliferation. In most tumours, telomerase activity maintains telomere length. Therefore, telomerase is a target for cancer treatments. However, some cancer cells maintain telomere length through an alternative mechanism termed ‘alternative lengthening of telomeres’. To determine how telomerase inhibition relates to the initiation of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway, we investigated telomerase activity and telomere maintenance in Hep-2 cells with and without reduced telomerase activity.
We investigated telomerase activity levels in a normal Hep-2 cell line and in residual cells following telomerase inhibition treatment. Additionally, we looked for expression of a marker protein for the alternative lengthening of telomeres mechanism.
In the residual cells, telomerase activity was eliminated. However, these cells had higher levels of the alternative lengthening of telomeres biomarker, suggesting an alternative mechanism for telomere maintenance following telomerase inhibition. These results could have a major impact on the design of new cancer treatments.
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