UNIT 10.30 Analysis of Telomere Length and Telomerase Activity

  1. Karen S. Hathcock1,
  2. Richard J. Hodes2,
  3. Nan-Ping Weng3

Published Online: 1 SEP 2004

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im1030s62

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Hathcock, K. S., Hodes, R. J. and Weng, N.-P. 2004. Analysis of Telomere Length and Telomerase Activity. Current Protocols in Immunology. 62:VII:10.30:10.30.1–10.30.27.

Author Information

  1. 1

    National Cancer Institute/NIH, Bethesda, MD

  2. 2

    National Institute on Aging and National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

  3. 3

    National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 SEP 2004
  2. Published Print: AUG 2004


Telomeres are specialized DNA-protein structures present at the ends of all linear chromosomes and are characterized by (TTAGGG)n hexanucleotide repeats and associated proteins. Telomere length has been implicated in cell survival and replicative capacity of dividing somatic cells. In the absence of an active compensatory mechanism, telomere lengths shorten as a consequence of proliferation, both in vitro and in vivo. However, this loss of telomeric repeats can be compensated and telomere length maintained by the enzyme telomerase, which is capable of adding (TTAGGG) repeat sequences to the ends of telomeres. This unit describes methods that are used for the measurement of telomere length and telomerase activity in human and murine cells.


  • telomeres;
  • telomerase;
  • hexanucleotide repeates;
  • cell senescence;
  • lymphocytes