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Keywords:

  • cell cycle pathways;
  • cell lines;
  • immortalisation;
  • pluripotency;
  • senescence;
  • telomerase

Abstract

Cellular immortality happens upon impairment of cell-cycle checkpoint pathways (p53/p16/pRb), reactivation or up-regulation of telomerase enzyme, or upregulation of some oncogenes or oncoproteins leading to a higher rate of cell division.There are also some other factors and mechanisms involved in immortalisation, which need to be discovered. Immortalisation of cells derived from different sources and establishment of immortal cell lines has proven useful in understanding the molecular pathways governing cell developmental cascades in eukaryotic, especially human, cells. After the breakthrough of achieving the immortal cells and understanding their critical importance in the field of molecular biology, intense efforts have been dedicated to establish cell lines useful for elucidating the functions of telomerase, developmental lineage of progenitors, self-renewal potency, cellular transformation, differentiation patterns and some bioprocesses, like odontogenesis. Meanwhile, discovering the exact mechanisms of immortality, a major challenge for science yet, is believed to open new gateways toward understanding and treatment of cancer in the long term. This review summarises the methods involved in establishing immortality, its advantages and the challenges still being faced in this field.