Immortalization of epithelial progenitor cells mediated by resveratrol

V. P. Pearce, J. Sherrell, Z. Lou, L. Kopelovich, W. E. Wright, J. W. Shay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Within the hierarchy of epithelial stem cells, normal progenitor cells may express regulated telomerase during renewal cycles of proliferation and differentiation. Discontinuous telomerase activity may promote increased renewal capacity of progenitor cells, while deregulated/continuous telomerase activity may promote immortalization when differentiation and/or senescent pathways are compromised. In the present work, we show that resveratrol activates, while progesterone inactivates, continuous telomerase activity within 24 h in subpopulations of human Li-Fraumeni syndrome-derived breast epithelial cells. Resveratrol results in immortalization of mixed progenitor cells with mutant p53, but not human epithelial cells with wild type p53. Our results demonstrate the potential for renewing progenitor cells with mutant p53 to immortalize after continuous telomerase expression when exposed to certain environmental compounds. Understanding the effects of telomerase modulators on endogenous telomerase activity in progenitor cells is relevant to the role of immortalization in the initiation and progression of cancer subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2365-2374
Number of pages10
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 10 2008


  • Aging
  • Breast epithelial
  • Progesterone
  • Telomerase
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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