Human telomerase RNA and telomerase activity in immortal cell lines and tumor tissues.
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Telomerase activity has been detected in many human immortal cells lines and in tumor tissues, whereas it is generally absent from primary cell strains and from many tumor adjacent tissue samples. With the recently cloned human telomerase RNA (hTR), we used Northern analysis to follow the levels of hTR in primary, precrisis, and immortalized cells. It was surprising that the amount of hTR was high in cell strains that lacked telomerase activity, and the levels did not parallel the increases in telomerase activity, which accompanies immortalization. In addition, although the hTR levels were somewhat higher in tumor samples compared to nontumor tissues, the level of hTR in a variety of different human tumors did not predict the level of telomerase activity in the tumor. Thus, whereas hTR was detected in all samples that have telomerase activity, the presence of the RNA was not a good predictor of the presence or amount of telomerase activity.
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