Most normal primary cells do not grow indefinitely in culture. Immortalized cells, however, enable you to use the same consistent material throughout a research project, without having to establish new cultures. These cells have an extended life span and maintain the genotype and phenotypic markers of the source tissue.


The preferred method to immortalize cells is through expression of the telomerase reverse transcriptase protein (TERT), particularly those cells most affected by telomere length (e.g., human). This protein is inactive in most somatic cells, but when hTERT is exogenously expressed the cells are able to maintain telomere lengths sufficient to avoid replicative senescence. Analysis of several telomerase-immortalized cell lines has verified that the cells maintain a stable genotype and retain critical phenotypic markers.

Viral Transformation

Several viral methods exist for immortalizing mammalian cells in culture. Viral genes, including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Simian virus 40 (SV40) T antigen can induce immortalization. Viral genes achieve immortalization by inactivating the tumor suppressor genes that put cells into a replicative senescent state.


Simbiosys staff has extensive expertise in primary cell immortalization and can immortalize primary cells of your choice using the hTERT or viral transformation (EBV, SV40 T antigen) methods. Please also consult our "primary cell isolation" and "cell banking" services for a complete end-to-end solution for your research requirements.

Assay Development
Cell Isolation & Banking
Cell Line Development
Natural Product Testing
Molecular Biology


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