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    The growth of primary keratinocytes is improved by culturing them with a feeder layer. The aim of this study was to assess whether the feeder layer increases the lifespan of cultured epithelial cells by maintaining or improving telomerase activity and expression. The addition of an irradiated fibroblast feeder layer of either human or mouse origin (i3T3) helped maintain telomerase activity as well as expression of the transcription factor Sp1 in cultured keratinocytes. In contrast, senescence occurred earlier, together with a reduction of Sp1 expression and telomerase activity, in keratinocytes cultured without a feeder layer. Telomerase activity was consistently higher in keratinocytes grown on the three different feeder layers tested relative to cells grown without them. Suppression of Sp1 expression by RNA inhibition (RNAi) reduced both telomerase expression and activity in keratinocytes and also abolished their long-term growth capacity suggesting that Sp1 is a key regulator of both telomerase gene expression and cell cycle progression of primary cultured human skin keratinocytes. The results of the present study therefore suggest that the beneficial influence of the feeder layer relies on its ability to preserve telomerase activity in cultured human keratinocytes through the maintenance of stable levels of Sp1 expression. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    Francis Bisson, Claudie Paquet, Jean-Michel Bourget, Karine Zaniolo, Patrick J Rochette, Solange Landreville, Odile Damour, François Boudreau, François A Auger, Sylvain L Guérin, Lucie Germain. Contribution of Sp1 to Telomerase Expression and Activity in Skin Keratinocytes Cultured With a Feeder Layer. Journal of cellular physiology. 2015 Feb;230(2):308-17

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    PMID: 24962522

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