European Journal of Cancer (Oxford, England: 1990)
This article reviews the current understanding of the involvement of telomerase in in vitro immortalisation of human cells. In vitro immortalisation with DNA tumour viruses or chemicals usually occurs in two phases. The first stage is an extension of lifespan beyond that at which cells would normally senescence, after which the culture enters a period of crisis. The second stage involves the escape from crisis of a rare cell in the culture, which goes on to proliferate indefinitely.
Telomere loss has been proposed as a mechanism for counting cell divisions during aging in normal somatic cells. How such a mitotic clock initiates the intracellular signalling events that culminate in G1 cell cycle arrest and senescence to restrict the lifespan of normal human cells is not known. We investigated the possibility that critically short telomere length activates a DNA damage response pathway involving p53 and p21(WAF1) in aging cells.
Cell cycle checkpoints and tumor suppressor gene functions appear to be required for the maintenance of a stable genome in proliferating cells. In this study chromosomal destabilization was monitored in relation to telomere structure, lifespan control and G2 checkpoint function. Replicative senescence was inactivated in secondary cultures of human skin fibroblasts by expressing the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6 oncoprotein to inactivate p53. Chromosome aberrations were enumerated during in vitro aging of isogenic control (F5neo) and HPV-16E6-expressing (F5E6) fibroblasts.
Reactive oxygen (RO) has been identified as an important effector in ageing and lifespan determination. The specific cell types, however, in which oxidative damage acts to limit lifespan of the whole organism have not been explicitly identified. The association between mutations in the gene encoding the oxygen radical metabolizing enzyme CuZn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and loss of motorneurons in the brain and spinal cord that occurs in the life-shortening paralytic disease, Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FALS; ref.
Accessible and readily utilized software, tables and approximation formulae have been developed to estimate power and sample size for studies of time to event (survival times) when the survival times are assumed to be exponential. These methods can markedly misestimate power when the distribution is Weibull and not exponential. The Weibull distribution with increasing hazard is common in aging research, especially when the whole life span of the subjects is of interest.
Transfection of nearly senesced human fibroblasts with plasmids encoding HPV16 E6 protein or dominant-negative p53 mutants greatly increased their colony-forming ability. Isolated colonies with these plasmids showed extension of lifespan compared to those with a control plasmid. These data demonstrate that p53 plays a major role in senescence in normal human fibroblasts.
Inactivation of p16INK4 tumor suppressor gene function is frequently observed in breast cancer. We examined p16INK4 expression in human mammary epithelial cell (HMEC) cultures established from four normal donors. Normal HMECs divide a limited number of times before proliferation ceases in a state referred to as selection (or M0). The cell subpopulation that emerges spontaneously from selection undergoes a further limited period of proliferation before senescence.
SV40 infection of human cells results in both transformation and lytic infection. We have used origin-defective viral mutants which are unable to replicate in permissive cells to help analysis of transformation. Expression of large T antigen (T ag) and small t antigen results in the altered growth phenotypes characteristic of transformation in other species. Human diploid fibroblasts (HF) have a limited lifespan and undergo senescence; T ag results in extension of lifespan but only in rare cases are the cells capable of continuous growth and are immortal.
The biology of telomeres and telomerase has been the subject of intensive investigative effort since it became evident that they play a significant role in two important biological processes, the loss of cellular replicative capacity inherent to organismal ageing and the unrestricted cell proliferation characteristic of carcinogenesis. Telomere shortening in normal cells is a result of DNA replication events, and reduction beyond a critical length is a signal for cellular senescence.
Odontogenic keratocysts (OKC) present an aggressive course with a marked tendency to recurrence. The epithelium of OKC is thought to have an intrinsic growth potential and has been shown to present a higher rate of proliferation as compared to other types of cyst. bcl-2 has a role in the extension of cell survival. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the bcl-2 protein expression in different odontogenic cysts. A total of 19 dentigerous cysts (DC), 20 radicular cysts (RC) and 14 OKC were used in the present study. DC and RC showed an almost complete negativity for bcl-2.