Detection of telomerase activity by the.TRAP assay and its variants and alternatives
Telomerase activity is closely connected to problems of cellular immortality, proliferative capacity, differentiation, cancer and aging. Correspondingly, techniques for its detection have been essential for progress in telomere biology and are of still increasing importance in molecular diagnostics and therapy of cancer. This article reviews the development of the telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) and its various modifications as the most widespread assay to detect and measure telomerase activity. Alternative possibilities of telomerase activity detection are also discussed which make it possible to omit the PCR-mediated amplification of telomerase products. These approaches are based on recent advances in highly sensitive detection systems. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.