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2 April 1998, Volume 16, Number 13, Pages 1723-1730
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Article
Expression of mouse telomerase reverse transcriptase during development, differentiation and proliferation
Roger A Greenberg1, Richard C Allsopp2,b, Lynda Chin1,3, Gregg B Morin2,a and Ronald A DePinho1,a

1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, 10461, USA

2Geron Corporation, 230 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA

3Division of Dermatology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, 10461, USA

aAuthor for correspondence:

bCurrent address: Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA

Abstract

We have identified the mouse telomerase reverse transcriptase component (mTERT) and demonstrate both substantial sequence homology to the human ortholog (hTERT), and the presence of reverse transcriptase and telomerase specific motifs. Furthermore, we show functional interchangeability with hTERT in in vitro telomerase reconstitution experiments, as mTERT produces strong telomerase activity in combination with the human telomerase RNA component hTR. The mouse TERT is widely expressed at low levels in adult tissues, with greatest abundance during embryogenesis and in adult thymus and intestine. The mTERT component mRNA levels were regulated during both differentiation and proliferation, while mTR levels remained constant throughout both processes. Comparison of mTERT and mTR levels to telomerase activity indicates that mTERT expression is more tightly linked to the regulation of telomerase activity during these processes than is mTR. In contrast to the situation in human cell cultures, mTERT transcript levels are present at readily detectable levels in primary cultured cells and are not upregulated following crisis. The widespread expression of mTERT in primary cells and mouse tissues could explain the increased frequency of spontaneous immortalization of mouse cells in culture and tumorigenesis in vivo.

Keywords

telomerase; reverse transcriptase; mouse; telemere; cancer

Received 5 February 1998; revised 26 February 1998; accepted 27 February 1998
2 April 1998, Volume 16, Number 13, Pages 1723-1730
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF