Tea polyphenols have inhibitive effects for carcinogenesis. A reporter system controlled by hTERT promoter was constructed to evaluate the effects of tea polyphenols, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC) on the repression of hTERT transcription. The hTERT promoter activity was selectively repressed by 20-40 μM EGCG and EGC in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Real-time RT-PCR confirmed that the endogenous hTERT mRNA level was decreased in H1299, OECM-1 and SAS cells treated with EGCG or EGC. Our results identified the repression activities of EGCG and EGC toward telomerase expression that might be linked to inhibition of carcinoma cell growth. This cell-based reporter system is useful for screening drugs targeting hTERT repression.
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