Open Access Utility of Telomerase-pot1 Fusion Protein in Vascular Tissue Engineering

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Abstract:

While advances in regenerative medicine and vascular tissue engineering have been substantial in recent years, important stumbling blocks remain. In particular, the limited life span of differentiated cells that are harvested from elderly human donors is an important limitation in many areas of regenerative medicine. Recently, a mutant of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase enzyme (TERT) was described, which is highly processive and elongates telomeres more rapidly than conventional telomerase. This mutant, called pot1-TERT, is a chimeric fusion between the DNA binding protein pot1 and TERT. Because pot1‐TERT is highly processive, it is possible that transient delivery of this transgene to cells that are utilized in regenerative medicine applications may elongate telomeres and extend cellular life span while avoiding risks that are associated with retroviral or lentiviral vectors. In the present study, adenoviral delivery of pot1-TERT resulted in transient reconstitution of telomerase activity in human smooth muscle cells, as demonstrated by telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP). In addition, human engineered vessels that were cultured using pot1-TERT-expressing cells had greater collagen content and somewhat better performance in vivo than control grafts. Hence, transient delivery of pot1-TERT to elderly human cells may be useful for increasing cellular life span and improving the functional characteristics of resultant tissue-engineered constructs.

Keywords: Senescence; Smooth muscle cells; Telomerase; Tissue engineering; Vascular grafts

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368909X478650

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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