Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is the catalytic component of telomerase that facilitates tumor cell invasion and proliferation. Telomerase and hTERT are remarkably upregulated in majority of cancers including glioblastoma. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) modulates several cellular activities including cell cycle and multiplication through transcriptional regulation. The present investigation was designed to unravel the molecular mechanisms of the inhibition of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion of human glioblastoma SNB-19 and LN-18 cell lines after knockdown of hTERT using a plasmid vector based siRNA and concurrent treatment with IFN-gamma. We observed more than 80% inhibition of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion of both cell lines after the treatment with combination of hTERT siRNA and IFN-gamma. Our studies also showed accumulation of apoptotic cells in subG1 phase and an increase in cell population in G0/G1 with a reduction in G2/M phase indicating cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase for apoptosis. Semiquantitative and real-time RT-PCR analyses demonstrated significant downregulation of c-Myc and upregulation of p21 Waf1 and p27 Kip1. Western blotting confirmed the downregulation of the molecules involved in cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and also showed upregulation of cell cycle inhibitors. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that knockdown of hTERT and concurrent treatment with IFN-gamma effectively inhibited cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in glioblastoma cells through downregulation of the molecules involved in these processes and cell cycle inhibition. Therefore, the combination of hTERT siRNA and IFN-gamma offers a potential therapeutic strategy for controlling growth of human glioblastoma cells.
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