Journal Article

Immortalization of human small airway epithelial cells by ectopic expression of telomerase

Chang Q. Piao, Li Liu, Yong L. Zhao, Adayabalam S. Balajee, Masao Suzuki and Tom K. Hei

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 26, issue 4, pages 725-731
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgi016
Immortalization of human small airway epithelial cells by ectopic expression of telomerase

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Two immortalized human airway epithelial cell lines were established by the ectopic expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). These cell lines have been continuously cultured for >200 population doublings (PDs). They are characterized by an overexpression of hTERT mRNA, elongated telomere length and higher telomerase activity. Early passage of these cells (<20 PDs) expressed the p16 protein at a level comparable to their parental cells. In later passages (>150 PDs), p16 protein was decreased but recovered to the early passage level upon treatment with a methylation inhibitor, 5-Aza-CdR. Chromosome analysis showed a near-diploid karyotype albeit with a gain or loss of certain chromosomes and a few stable translocations in both cell lines. No p53 gene alterations were found in these cell lines. They remained anchorage dependent in growth and were non-tumorigenic in nude mice. These two cell lines are the first reported immortalized human airway epithelial cell lines by hTERT expression without incorporation of virus or other genes, which may serve as a useful model system for studies on bronchial carcinogenesis.

Keywords: hTERT, human telomerase reverse transcriptase; PD, population doubling; SAEC, small airway epithelial cells; SAGM, small airway epithelial growth medium

Journal Article.  4854 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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