Assays for Detection of Telomerase Activity and Telomere Length in Tumors and Cell Lines.
Cellular immortalization, one of the hallmarks of cancer, depends on telomere length maintenance mechanisms (TMM) through the activity of either telomerase or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The telomere repeat amplification protocol (T.R.A.P.) is the most widely used assay for telomerase activity, despite its inherent unreliability due to the presence in crude cell lysates of unknown inhibitors of not only telomerase itself but also Taq polymerase. With no available alternative, researchers worldwide have until now been unable to… escape the T.R.A.P.