Comparative analysis of RNA-seq data from human ALT+ cell lines treated with NR2F2 siRNA
ABSTRACT: The Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) facilitates telomere lengthening by a DNA strand invasion and copying mechanism. The nuclear receptor NR2F2 can bind to (TCAGGG)n variant repeats within telomeres and it has been proposed that this facilitates telomere interactions in ALT+ cells. However, the role NR2F2 in regulation the gene expression in ALT+ cell lines is unclear. Here, using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), we characterised the changes in expression profile of three ALT+ cell lines (W-V, WI38VA13/2RA, U2OS) upon transient siRNA mediated downregulation of NR2F2 compared to cells treated with a control siRNA . Among 86 ALT-associated genes, only MND1 showed consistent down-regulation across the three NR2F2-depleted ALT+ cell lines. Altogether our data indicate that NR2F2 it does not play a direct role in the ALT mechanism.
Project description:Cancer cells overcome replicative senescence by exploiting mechanisms of telomere elongation, a process often accomplished by reactivation of the enzyme telomerase. However, a subset of cancer cells lack telomerase activity and rely on the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway, a recombination-based mechanism of telomere elongation. Although the mechanisms regulating ALT are not fully defined, chronic replication stress at telomeres might prime these fragile regions for recombination. Here, we demonstrate that the replication stress response protein SMARCAL1 is a critical regulator of ALT activity. SMARCAL1 associates with ALT telomeres to resolve replication stress and ensure telomere stability. In the absence of SMARCAL1, persistently stalled replication forks at ALT telomeres deteriorate into DNA double-strand breaks promoting the formation of chromosome fusions. Our studies not only define a role for SMARCAL1 in ALT telomere maintenance, but also demonstrate that resolution of replication stress is a crucial step in the ALT mechanism.
Project description:ALT tumor cells often contain abundant DNA damage foci at telomeres and rely on the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism to maintain their telomeres. How the telomere chromatin is regulated and maintained in these cells remains largely unknown. In this study, we present evidence that heterochromatin protein 1 binding protein 3 (HP1BP3) can localize to telomeres and is particularly enriched on telomeres in ALT cells. HP1BP3 inhibition led to preferential growth inhibition of ALT cells, which was accompanied by telomere chromatin decompaction, increased presence of C-circles, more pronounced ALT-associated phenotypes and elongated telomeres. Furthermore, HP1BP3 appeared to participate in regulating telomere histone H3K9me3 epigenetic marks. Taken together, our data suggest that HP1BP3 functions on telomeres to maintain telomere chromatin and represents a novel target for inhibiting ALT cancer cells.
Project description:A fraction of cancer cells maintain telomeres through the telomerase-independent, 'Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres' (ALT) pathway. ALT relies on homologous recombination (HR) between telomeric sequences; yet, what makes ALT telomeres recombinogenic remains unclear. Here we show that the RNA endonuclease RNaseH1 regulates the levels of RNA-DNA hybrids between telomeric DNA and the long noncoding RNA TERRA, and is a key mediator of telomere maintenance in ALT cells. RNaseH1 associated to telomeres specifically in ALT cells and its depletion led to telomeric hybrid accumulation, exposure of single-stranded telomeric DNA, activation of replication protein A at telomeres and abrupt telomere excision. Conversely, overexpression of RNaseH1 weakened the recombinogenic nature of ALT telomeres and led to telomere shortening. Altering cellular RNaseH1 levels did not perturb telomere homoeostasis in telomerase-positive cells. RNaseH1 maintains regulated levels of telomeric RNA-DNA hybrids at ALT telomeres to trigger HR without compromising telomere integrity too severely.
Project description:Most sarcomas have complex karyotype and are characterized by multiple chromosomal rearrangements. Moreover, sarcomas very frequently maintain their telomeres by recombination in the process called Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) which enables their continuous growth and immortalization. Previously our group showed that orphan receptors bind specifically to the ALT telomeres and that their presence is important for the ALT mechanism. In these studies we focus on the function of orphan receptors at the telomeres and their contribution to telomeric recombination. We demonstrate that orphan receptors induce proximity of their binding sites in telomeric and genomic context and reveal novel aspects of ALT which are telomere-genome rearrangements which can underlie complexity of sarcomas. Our data perturb the dogma of telomere function in protecting the genome integrity. Here we show that in some cases telomeres may in fact drive genomic instability and chromosomal rearrangements by recombination with genomic sites. Characterization of TRF2 and orphan receptor NR2F/C2 binding sites in ALT (-) and ALT (+) cells.
Project description:Cancer cells acquire unlimited proliferative capacity by either re-expressing telomerase or inducing alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT), which relies on telomere recombination. Here, we show that ALT recombination requires coordinate regulation of the SMX and BTR complexes to ensure the appropriate balance of resolution and dissolution activities at recombining telomeres. Critical to this control is SLX4IP, which accumulates at ALT telomeres and interacts with SLX4, XPF, and BLM. Loss of SLX4IP increases ALT-related phenotypes, which is incompatible with cell growth following concomitant loss of SLX4. Inactivation of BLM is sufficient to rescue telomere aggregation and the synthetic growth defect in this context, suggesting that SLX4IP favors SMX-dependent resolution by antagonizing promiscuous BLM activity during ALT recombination. Finally, we show that SLX4IP is inactivated in a subset of ALT-positive osteosarcomas. Collectively, our findings uncover an SLX4IP-dependent regulatory mechanism critical for telomere maintenance in ALT cancer cells.
Project description:Telomere length maintenance is a requisite feature of cellular immortalization and a hallmark of human cancer. While most human cancers express telomerase activity, ?10%-15% employ a recombination-dependent telomere maintenance pathway known as alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) that is characterized by multitelomere clusters and associated promyelocytic leukemia protein bodies. Here, we show that a DNA double-strand break (DSB) response at ALT telomeres triggers long-range movement and clustering between chromosome termini, resulting in homology-directed telomere synthesis. Damaged telomeres initiate increased random surveillance of nuclear space before displaying rapid directional movement and association with recipient telomeres over micron-range distances. This phenomenon required Rad51 and the Hop2-Mnd1 heterodimer, which are essential for homologous chromosome synapsis during meiosis. These findings implicate a specialized homology searching mechanism in ALT-dependent telomere maintenance and provide a molecular basis underlying the preference for recombination between nonsister telomeres during ALT.
Project description:One of the hallmarks of cancer cells is their indefinite replicative potential, made possible by the activation of a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM). The majority of cancers reactivate the reverse transcriptase, telomerase, to maintain their telomere length but a minority (10% to 15%) utilize an alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway. Here, we review the phenotypes and molecular markers specific to ALT, and investigate the significance of telomere mutations and sequence variation in ALT cell lines. We also look at the recent advancements in understanding the different mechanisms behind ALT telomere elongation and finally, the progress made in identifying potential ALT-targeted therapies, including those already in use for the treatment of both hematological and solid tumors.
Project description:Both Fanconi anemia (FA) and telomere dysfunction are associated with chromosome instability and an increased risk of cancer. Because of these similarities, we have investigated whether there is a relationship between the FA protein, FANCD2 and telomeres. We find that FANCD2 nuclear foci colocalize with telomeres and PML bodies in immortalized telomerase-negative cells. These cells maintain telomeres by alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). In contrast, FANCD2 does not colocalize with telomeres or PML bodies in cells which express telomerase. Using a siRNA approach we find that FANCA and FANCL, which are components of the FA nuclear core complex, regulate FANCD2 monoubiquitination and the telomeric localization of FANCD2 in ALT cells. Transient depletion of FANCD2, or FANCA, results in a dramatic loss of detectable telomeres in ALT cells but not in telomerase-expressing cells. Furthermore, telomere loss following depletion of these proteins in ALT cells is associated with decreased homologous recombination between telomeres (T-SCE). Thus, the FA pathway has a novel function in ALT telomere maintenance related to DNA repair. ALT telomere maintenance is therefore one mechanism by which monoubiquitinated FANCD2 may promote genetic stability.
Project description:Maintaining functional telomeres is important for long-term proliferation of cells. About 15% of cancer cells are telomerase-negative and activate the alternative-lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway to maintain their telomeres. Recent studies have shown that the human CTC1/STN1/TEN1 complex (CST) plays a multi-faceted role in telomere maintenance in telomerase-expressing cancer cells. However, the role of CST in telomere maintenance in ALT cells is unclear. Here, we report that human CST forms a functional complex localizing in the ALT-associated PML bodies (APBs) in ALT cells throughout the cell cycle. Suppression of CST induces telomere instabilities including telomere fragility and elevates telomeric DNA recombination, leading to telomere dysfunction. In addition, CST deficiency significantly diminishes the abundance of extrachromosomal circular telomere DNA known as C-circles and t-circles. Suppression of CST also results in multinucleation in ALT cells and impairs cell proliferation. Our findings imply that the CST complex plays an important role in regulating telomere maintenance in ALT cells.
Project description:Most human tumors maintain telomere lengths by telomerase, whereas a portion of them (10%-15%) uses a mechanism named alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The telomeric G-quadruplex (G4) ligand RHPS4 is known for its potent antiproliferative effect, as shown in telomerase-positive cancer models. Moreover, RHPS4 is also able to reduce cell proliferation in ALT cells, although the influence of G4 stabilization on the ALT mechanism has so far been poorly investigated. Here we show that sensitivity to RHPS4 is comparable in ALT-positive (U2OS; SAOS-2) and telomerase-positive (HOS) osteosarcoma cell lines, unlinking the telomere maintenance mechanism and RHPS4 responsiveness. To investigate the impact of G4 stabilization on ALT, the cardinal ALT hallmarks were analyzed. A significant induction of telomeric doublets, telomeric clusterized DNA damage, ALT-associated Promyelocytic Leukaemia-bodies (APBs), telomere sister chromatid exchanges (T-SCE) and c-circles was found exclusively in RHPS4-treated ALT cells. We surmise that RHPS4 affects ALT mechanisms through the induction of replicative stress that in turn is converted in DNA damage at telomeres, fueling recombination. In conclusion, our work indicates that RHPS4-induced telomeric DNA damage promotes overactivation of telomeric recombination in ALT cells, opening new questions on the therapeutic employment of G4 ligands in the treatment of ALT positive tumors.