Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase that adds telomeric repeats (TTAGGG)n to chromosomal ends, compensating for the telomere shortening that occurs with DNA replication. In normal human somatic cells, telomerase is repressed and telomeres progressively shorten, leading to limited lifespan and senescence. Reactivation of telomerase activity is associated with human cancer and cell immortalization. Approximately 85% of human cancers, including breast, prostate, stomach, bladder, colon, and liver cancer, have telomerase activity, whereas most normal somatic cells do not. The specificity of telomerase to human cancer has led to investigations of telomerase activity and expression as a tumor marker. For example, the presence of telomerase activity in human urine has been identified as a marker for human bladder carcinoma. Human telomerase consists of three major subunits: a catalytic protein subunit called hTERT (for human TElomerase Reverse Transcriptase), a template RNA called hTR, and telomerase-associated protein (TEP-1). TERT and hTR are minimally required to reconstitute telomerase activity in vitro. In human cells, hTR is constitutively expressed. TERT transcription is a primary mechanism for regulation of telomerase activity.
Telomerase catalytic subunit, hTERT
This affinity purified antibody was prepared from whole rabbit serum produced by repeated immunizations with a synthetic peptide corresponding to a region near the carboxy terminal end of hTERT (accession number AF018167).