Homologous recombination in human telomerase-positive and ALT cells occurs with the same frequency

Oliver E. Bechter, Ying Zou, Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


Homologous recombination is thought to be the molecular mechanism for maintaining telomere length in alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) cells. We used a recombination reporter system to show that the frequency of homologous recombination is the same for ALT- and telomerase-positive cells, suggesting that if ALT cells have a recombination defect it specifically involves telomeric sequences. We compared internal and telomere-adjacent positions of our reporter construct to investigate if telomeric sequences near an induced double-strand break alter the frequency of recombination between nontelomeric sequences, and found no differences among the different cell lines analysed. Our results indicate that the underlying defect in homologous recombination in ALT cells does not affect sequences independent of their chromosomal location but is likely to be primarily a specific telomeric defect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1143
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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