Abstract. Alternative splicing of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase subunit (hTERT) suppresses telomerase activity during the development of human fetal kidney cells into mature cells. Tumor cell differentiation is the process of turning abnormal tumor cells into 'normal' cells accompanied by down-regulation of telomerase activity. However, the precise mechanism of the regulation of telomerase activity in differentiated cells is not fully understood. In this study, we observed the role of alternative splicing of hTERT in the regulation of telomerase activity in all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA)-induced, differentiated HL-60 cells. ATRA-induced downregulation of telomerase activity in differentiated HL-60 cells was associated with a decrease in hTERT and an increase in human telomerase-associated protein-1 (hTP1) transcription. and hTERT b -maintained a relatively stable ratio when telomerase activity decreased largely from treatment with 1 to 5 m M ATRA. Although the splicing pattern of hTERT mRNA was altered in time-effect research, the change was not related to the ATRA-treated decline of telomerase activity. The expression of alternative splicing variants of hTERT also decreased at the protein level. All these results suggested that alternative splicing of hTERT mRNA may not contribute to the suppression of telomerase activity during ATRA-induced HL-60 leukemia cell differentiation.
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