Telomerase activation is a hallmark of cancer. Although the regulation of the telomerase reverse transcriptase catalytic subunit (TERT), the rate‐limiting factor for telomerase activity, has been studied intensively it remains incompletely understood. In cells devoid of telomerase activity, TERT is embedded in a region of condensed chromatin and the chromatin remodeling protein CCCTC‐binding factor (CTCF) has been implicated in the inhibition of TERT expression. The importance of TERT activation for cellular immortalization and carcinogenesis is attested by the fact that the gene is expressed in more than 90% of immortal cell lines and tumors and that gain of TERT is the most frequent amplification event in early stage lung cancer. This study was designed to study the mechanisms of regulation of the TERT gene expression by the CTCF transcription factor in three human lung cancer cell lines, A427, A549 and H838. Depletion of CTCF by siRNA resulted in reduced TERT mRNA levels in two (A427 and A549) of the three cell lines. A novel enhancer element was identified approximately 4.5 kb upstream of the TERT transcription start site. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed recruitment of CTCF to this enhancer element. Chromosome conformation capture experiments demonstrated the presence of CTCF‐dependent chromatin loops...

Eldholm, Vegard; Haugen, Aage; Zienolddiny, Shanbeh
International Journal of Cancer 134(10): 2305–2313
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