Using PCR Coupled to PAGE for Detection and Semiquantitative Evaluation of Telomerase Activity

  • Laura Gardano
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1054)


Telomerase is the enzyme that extends the chromosome ends, thereby contributing to eukaryotic cell genome stability. Telomerase is expressed in the majority of cells that have an unlimited proliferation such as stem cells and cancer cells. The increased interest in telomerase in cancer research, challenged by the low cellular abundance of the enzyme, has led to the development of a reliable and at the same time very sensitive approach to detect telomerase activity. The telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) represents an easy and rapid method for detection of telomerase activity in cells. A non-telomeric TS primer is extended by telomerase in the first step followed by the PCR amplification of the products. The PCR step renders this protocol very sensitive to detect telomerase activity at the single cell level making it compatible with the analysis of tumor samples. When run on a polyacrylamide gel, the PCR product is a characteristic ladder of bands due to the repetitive nature of telomeric DNA sequence. The densitometric analysis of the ladder allows the TRAP assay to be used for comparative quantification of telomerase activity in different samples.

Key words

Telomerase activity Telomeres Telomerase detection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Gardano
    • 1
  1. 1.UFR SMBH/University Paris 13ParisFrance

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