Telomerase expression in human somatic cells does not induce changes associated with a transformed phenotype

Nat Genet. 1999 Jan;21(1):111-4. doi: 10.1038/5056.


Expression of the human telomerase catalytic component, hTERT, in normal human somatic cells can reconstitute telomerase activity and extend their replicative lifespan. We report here that at twice the normal number of population doublings, telomerase-expressing human skin fibroblasts (BJ-hTERT) and retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE-hTERT) retain normal growth control in response to serum deprivation, high cell density, G1 or G2 phase blockers and spindle inhibitors. In addition, we observed no cell growth in soft agar and detected no tumour formation in vivo. Thus, we find that telomerase expression in normal cells does not appear to induce changes associated with a malignant phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / pharmacology
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA*
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism
  • Telomerase / biosynthesis*
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Proteins
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • telomerase RNA
  • Aspartic Acid
  • RNA
  • sparfosic acid
  • Telomerase
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid
  • Hydroxyurea