Reddel, R. R., Bryan, T. M., Colgin, L. M., Perrem, K. T. and Yeager, T. R. Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres in Human Cells.
Activation of a telomere maintenance mechanism appears to be essential for immortalization. In most human tumors and tumor cell lines, the telomere maintenance mechanism involves the activity of telomerase, a reverse transcriptase holoenzyme that synthesizes telomeric repeat DNA. In some cases, telomere maintenance occurs in the absence of telomerase activity by a mechanism referred to as alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The development of telomere-targeted anticancer therapies will be facilitated by an understanding of the molecular mechanisms of ALT and of the means whereby ALT is repressed in normal cells.