Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Telomerase prevents the accelerated cell ageing of Werner syndrome fibroblasts


Werner syndrome (WS) is a rare disorder inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and characterized by accelerated ageing1. WS fibroblasts display an accelerated rate of senescence in vitro2, which has been linked to this progeroid phenotype. The senescence of normal human fibroblasts is triggered by telomere shortening3,4,5, whereas the premature senescence of WS fibroblasts has been assumed6,7 to reflect the accumulation of DNA damage. Here we show that forced expression of telomerase in WS confers extended cellular lifespan and probable immortality.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: hTERT immortalizes WS fibroblasts.
Figure 2


  1. Kipling, D. & Faragher, R.G.A. J. Clin. Path. Mol. Path. 50, 234–241 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Faragher, R.G.A. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 90, 12030 –12034 (1993).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bodnar, A.G. et al. Science 279, 349–352 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Vaziri, H. & Benchimol, S. Curr. Biol. 8, 279–282 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Counter, C.M. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14723 –14728 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kirkwood, T. Time of Our Lives (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1999).

  7. Beckman, K.B. & Ames, B.N. Physiol. Rev. 78, 547–581 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Moser, M.J., Oshima, J. & Monnat, R.J. Hum. Mut. 13, 271– 279 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Gebhart, E. et al. Hum. Genet. 80, 135– 139 (1988).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Fukuchi, K.-I., Martin, G.M. & Monnat, R.J. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 86, 5893–5897 (1989).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Nakamura, T.M. et al. Science 277, 955–959 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Morgenstern, J.P. & Land, H. Nucleic Acids Res. 18, 3587–3596 ( 1990).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Bond, J.A. et al. Mol. Cell. Biol. 19, 3103– 3114 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bennett, S.E. et al. Mol. Biol. Aging 44, 214– 224 (1999).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Jones, C.J. et al. Exp. Cell Res. 240, 333– 339 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank C. Harley for providing pGRN121 and J. Smith for providing the HCA2 cell strain. This work was supported by the Cancer Research Campaign and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's Science of Ageing Initiative. D.K. is a Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richard G.A. Faragher.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wyllie, F., Jones, C., Skinner, J. et al. Telomerase prevents the accelerated cell ageing of Werner syndrome fibroblasts . Nat Genet 24, 16–17 (2000).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing