Telomere shortening associated with chromosome instability is arrested in immortal cells which express telomerase activity

Christopher M. Counter, Ariel A. Avilion, Catherine E. LeFeuvre, Nancy G. Stewart, Carol W Greider, Calvin B. Harley, Silvia Bacchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Loss of telomeric DNA during cell proliferation may play a role in ageing and cancer. Since telomeres permit complete replication of eukaryotic chromosomes and protect their ends from recombination, we have measured telomere length, telomerase activity and chromosome rearrangements in human cells before and after transformation with SV40 or Ad5. In all mortal populations, telomeres shortened by ≈ 65 bp/generation during the lifespan of the cultures. When transformed cells reached crisis, the length of the telomeric TTAGGG repeats was only ≈1.5 kbp and many dicentric chromosomes were observed. In immortal cells, telomere length and frequency of dicentric chromosomes stabilized after crisis. Telomerase activity was not detectable in control or extended lifespan populations but was present in immortal populations. These results suggest that chromosomes with short (TTAGGG)n tracts are recombinogenic, critically shortened telomeres may be incompatible with cell proliferation and stabilization of telomere length by telomerase may be required for immortalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1921-1929
Number of pages9
JournalThe EMBO journal
Volume11
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Telomere Shortening
Chromosomal Instability
Telomerase
Chromosomes
Telomere
Cell proliferation
Cell Proliferation
Population
Genetic Recombination
Stabilization
Aging of materials
Cells
DNA
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Chromosome rearrangements
  • Immortality
  • Telomerase
  • Telomeres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Counter, C. M., Avilion, A. A., LeFeuvre, C. E., Stewart, N. G., Greider, C. W., Harley, C. B., & Bacchetti, S. (1992). Telomere shortening associated with chromosome instability is arrested in immortal cells which express telomerase activity. The EMBO journal, 11(5), 1921-1929.

Telomere shortening associated with chromosome instability is arrested in immortal cells which express telomerase activity. / Counter, Christopher M.; Avilion, Ariel A.; LeFeuvre, Catherine E.; Stewart, Nancy G.; Greider, Carol W; Harley, Calvin B.; Bacchetti, Silvia.

In: The EMBO journal, Vol. 11, No. 5, 1992, p. 1921-1929.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Counter, CM, Avilion, AA, LeFeuvre, CE, Stewart, NG, Greider, CW, Harley, CB & Bacchetti, S 1992, 'Telomere shortening associated with chromosome instability is arrested in immortal cells which express telomerase activity', The EMBO journal, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 1921-1929.
Counter, Christopher M. ; Avilion, Ariel A. ; LeFeuvre, Catherine E. ; Stewart, Nancy G. ; Greider, Carol W ; Harley, Calvin B. ; Bacchetti, Silvia. / Telomere shortening associated with chromosome instability is arrested in immortal cells which express telomerase activity. In: The EMBO journal. 1992 ; Vol. 11, No. 5. pp. 1921-1929.
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