DNA amplification by breakage/fusion/bridge cycles initiated by spontaneous telomere loss in a human cancer cell line.
ABSTRACT: The development of genomic instability is an important step in generating the multiple genetic changes required for cancer. One consequence of genomic instability is the overexpression of oncogenes due to gene amplification. One mechanism for gene amplification is the breakage/fusion/bridge (B/F/B) cycle that involves the repeated fusion and breakage of chromosomes following the loss of a telomere. B/F/B cycles have been associated with low-copy gene amplification in human cancer cells, and have been proposed to be an initiating event in high-copy gene amplification. We have found that spontaneous telomere loss on a marker chromosome 16 in a human tumor cell line results in sister chromatid fusion and prolonged periods of chromosome instability. The high rate of anaphase bridges involving chromosome 16 demonstrates that this instability results from B/F/B cycles. The amplification of subtelomeric DNA on the marker chromosome provides conclusive evidence that B/F/B cycles initiated by spontaneous telomere loss are a mechanism for gene amplification in human cancer cells.
Project description:Telomeres are essential for protecting the ends of chromosomes and preventing chromosome fusion. Telomere loss has been proposed to play an important role in the chromosomal rearrangements associated with tumorigenesis. To determine the relationship between telomere loss and chromosome instability in mammalian cells, we investigated the events resulting from the introduction of a double-strand break near a telomere with I-SceI endonuclease in mouse embryonic stem cells. The inactivation of a selectable marker gene adjacent to a telomere as a result of the I-SceI-induced double-strand break involved either the addition of a telomere at the site of the break or the formation of inverted repeats and large tandem duplications on the end of the chromosome. Nucleotide sequence analysis demonstrated large deletions and little or no complementarity at the recombination sites involved in the formation of the inverted repeats. The formation of inverted repeats was followed by a period of chromosome instability, characterized by amplification of the subtelomeric region, translocation of chromosomal fragments onto the end of the chromosome, and the formation of dicentric chromosomes. Despite this heterogeneity, the rearranged chromosomes eventually acquired telomeres and were stable in most of the cells in the population at the time of analysis. Our observations are consistent with a model in which broken chromosomes that do not regain a telomere undergo sister chromatid fusion involving nonhomologous end joining. Sister chromatid fusion is followed by chromosome instability resulting from breakage-fusion-bridge cycles involving the sister chromatids and rearrangements with other chromosomes. This process results in highly rearranged chromosomes that eventually become stable through the addition of a telomere onto the broken end. We have observed similar events after spontaneous telomere loss in a human tumor cell line, suggesting that chromosome instability resulting from telomere loss plays a role in chromosomal rearrangements associated with tumor cell progression.
Project description:Telomeres protect eukaryotic chromosomes from illegitimate end-to-end fusions. When this function fails, dicentric chromosomes are formed, triggering breakage-fusion-bridge cycles and genome instability. How efficient is this protection mechanism in normal cells is not fully understood. We created a positive selection assay aimed at capturing chromosome-end fusions in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We placed telomere sequences with a head to head arrangement in an intron of a selectable marker contained on a plasmid. By linearizing the plasmid between the telomere sequences, we generated a stable mini-chromosome that fails to express the reporter gene. Whenever the ends of the mini-chromosome join, the marker gene is reconstituted and fusions are captured by direct selection. Using telomerase mutants, we recovered several fusion events that lacked telomere sequences. The end-joining reaction involved specific homologous subtelomeric sequences capable of forming hairpins, suggestive of ssDNA stabilization prior to fusing. These events occurred via microhomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ)/single-strand annealing (SSA) repair and also required MRN/Ctp1. Strikingly, we were able to capture spontaneous telomere-to-telomere fusions in unperturbed cells. Similar to disruption of the telomere regulator Taz1/TRF2, end-joining reactions occurred via non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair. Thus, telomeres undergo fusions prior to becoming critically short, possibly through transient deprotection. These dysfunction events induce chromosome instability and may underlie early tumourigenesis.
Project description:Chromosome instability plays an important role in cancer by promoting the alterations in the genome required for tumor cell progression. The loss of telomeres that protect the ends of chromosomes and prevent chromosome fusion has been proposed as one mechanism for chromosome instability in cancer cells, however, there is little direct evidence to support this hypothesis. To investigate the relationship between spontaneous telomere loss and chromosome instability in human cancer cells, clones of the EJ-30 tumor cell line were isolated in which a herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene was integrated immediately adjacent to a telomere. Selection for HSV-tk-deficient cells with ganciclovir demonstrated a high rate of loss of the end these "marked" chromosomes (10-4 events/cell per generation). DNA sequence and cytogenetic analysis suggests that the loss of function of the HSV-tk gene most often involves telomere loss, sister chromatid fusion, and prolonged periods of chromosome instability. In some HSV-tk-deficient cells, telomeric repeat sequences were added on to the end of the truncated HSV-tk gene at a new location, whereas in others, no telomere was detected on the end of the marked chromosome. These results suggest that spontaneous telomere loss is a mechanism for chromosome instability in human cancer cells.
Project description:This study describes a recurrent dicentric chromosome formed by telomere fusion between chromosome 20 and chromosome 22 in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This is the first description of a recurrent telomere fusion event in myeloid malignancy. The derivative chromosome is further characterised by the presence of nucleolus organiser region material from the chromosome 22 short arm, loss of the putative tumour suppressor gene at 20q12 and secondary rearrangements including gain or amplification of 20q material adjacent to the deletion encompassing 20q12. The presence of residual telomere sequence at the site of translocation in three of the four cases is compelling support for telomere fusion, and supports previous evidence that over half of dicentric chromosomes involving 20q are produced by telomere fusion events. We propose that the sequence of events producing this chromosome abnormality is initial formation of an unstable dicentric chromosome by 20q and 22p telomere fusion, followed by breakage-fusion-bridge cycles causing 20q12 deletion and 20q11.2 gain which provide a growth advantage to the cell. Selection of these clones contributes to leukaemogenesis. Finding recurrent patterns in the complex genome reorganisation events which characterise poor prognosis, complex karyotype AML and MDS will help us understand the mechanisms and oncogenic driver mutations in these poorly understood malignancies. The sample consists of leukaemia specimens from three different cases of AML and MDS. The consistent feature was the presence of a dicentric chromosome formed from chromosomes 20 and 22.
Project description:The telomeres of linear eukaryotic chromosomes are protected by caps consisting of evolutionarily conserved nucleoprotein complexes. Telomere dysfunction leads to recombination of chromosome ends and this can result in fusions which initiate chromosomal breakage-fusion-bridge cycles, causing genomic instability and potentially cell death or cancer. We hypothesize that in the absence of the recombination pathways implicated in these fusions, deprotected chromosome ends will instead be eroded by nucleases, also leading to the loss of genes and cell death. In this work, we set out to specifically test this hypothesis in the plant, Arabidopsis. Telomere protection in Arabidopsis implicates KU and CST and their absence leads to chromosome fusions, severe genomic instability and dramatic developmental defects. We have analysed the involvement of end-joining recombination pathways in telomere fusions and the consequences of this on genomic instability and growth. Strikingly, the absence of the multiple end-joining pathways eliminates chromosome fusion and restores normal growth and development to cst ku80 mutant plants. It is thus the chromosomal fusions, per se, which are the underlying cause of the severe developmental defects. This rescue is mediated by telomerase-dependent telomere extension, revealing a competition between telomerase and end-joining recombination proteins for access to deprotected telomeres.
Project description:Telomere crisis contributes to cancer genome evolution, yet only a subset of cancers display breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycles and chromothripsis, hallmarks of experimental telomere crisis identified in previous studies. We examine the spectrum of structural variants (SVs) instigated by natural telomere crisis. Eight spontaneous post-crisis clones did not show prominent patterns of BFB cycles or chromothripsis. Their crisis-induced genome rearrangements varied from infrequent simple SVs to more frequent and complex SVs. In contrast, BFB cycles and chromothripsis occurred in MRC5 fibroblast clones that escaped telomere crisis after CRISPR-controlled telomerase activation. This system revealed convergent evolutionary lineages altering one allele of chromosome 12p, where a short telomere likely predisposed to fusion. Remarkably, the 12p chromothripsis and BFB events were stabilized by independent fusions to chromosome 21. The data establish that telomere crisis can generate a wide spectrum of SVs implying that a lack of BFB patterns and chromothripsis in cancer genomes does not indicate absence of past telomere crisis.
Project description:<i>Background</i>: Microsatellite and chromosomal instability have been investigated in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). <i>Materials and Methods</i>: We studied seven HL cell lines (five Nodular Sclerosis (NS) and two Mixed Cellularity (MC)) and patient peripheral blood lymphocytes (100 NS-HL and 23 MC-HL). Microsatellite instability (MSI) was assessed by PCR. Chromosomal instability and telomere dysfunction were investigated by FISH. DNA repair mechanisms were studied by transcriptomic and molecular approaches. <i>Results</i>: In the cell lines, we observed high MSI in L428 (4/5), KMH2, and HDLM2 (3/5), low MSI in L540, L591, and SUP-HD1, and none in L1236. NS-HL cell lines showed telomere shortening, associated with alterations of nuclear shape. Small cells were characterized by telomere loss and deletion, leading to chromosomal fusion, large nucleoplasmic bridges, and breakage/fusion/bridge (B/F/B) cycles, leading to chromosomal instability. The MC-HL cell lines showed substantial heterogeneity of telomere length. Intrachromosmal double strand breaks induced dicentric chromosome formation, high levels of micronucleus formation, and small nucleoplasmic bridges. B/F/B cycles induced complex chromosomal rearrangements. We observed a similar pattern in circulating lymphocytes of NS-HL and MC-HL patients. Transcriptome analysis confirmed the differences in the DNA repair pathways between the NS and MC cell lines. In addition, the NS-HL cell lines were radiosensitive and the MC-cell lines resistant to apoptosis after radiation exposure. <i>Conclusions</i>: In mononuclear NS-HL cells, loss of telomere integrity may present the first step in the ongoing process of chromosomal instability. Here, we identified, MSI as an additional mechanism for genomic instability in HL.
Project description:Aneuploidy and chromosomal instability (CIN) are hallmarks of most solid tumors. These alterations may result from inaccurate chromosomal segregation during mitosis, which can occur through several mechanisms including defective telomere metabolism, centrosome amplification, dysfunctional centromeres, and/or defective spindle checkpoint control. In this work, we used an in vitro murine melanoma model that uses a cellular adhesion blockade as a transforming factor to characterize telomeric and centromeric alterations that accompany melanocyte transformation. To study the timing of the occurrence of telomere shortening in this transformation model, we analyzed the profile of telomere length by quantitative fluorescent in situ hybridization and found that telomere length significantly decreased as additional rounds of cell adhesion blockages were performed. Together with it, an increase in telomere-free ends and complex karyotypic aberrations were also found, which include Robertsonian fusions in 100% of metaphases of the metastatic melanoma cells. These findings are in agreement with the idea that telomere length abnormalities seem to be one of the earliest genetic alterations acquired in the multistep process of malignant transformation and that telomere abnormalities result in telomere aggregation, breakage-bridge-fusion cycles, and CIN. Another remarkable feature of this model is the abundance of centromeric instability manifested as centromere fragments and centromeric fusions. Taken together, our results illustrate for this melanoma model CIN with a structural signature of centromere breakage and telomeric loss.
Project description:The haploid genome of the pathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici is contained on "core" and "accessory" chromosomes. While 13 core chromosomes are found in all strains, as many as eight accessory chromosomes show presence/absence variation and rearrangements among field isolates. The factors influencing these presence/absence polymorphisms are so far unknown. We investigated chromosome stability using experimental evolution, karyotyping, and genome sequencing. We report extremely high and variable rates of accessory chromosome loss during mitotic propagation in vitro and in planta Spontaneous chromosome loss was observed in 2 to >50% of cells during 4 weeks of incubation. Similar rates of chromosome loss in the closely related Zymoseptoria ardabiliae suggest that this extreme chromosome dynamic is a conserved phenomenon in the genus. Elevating the incubation temperature greatly increases instability of accessory and even core chromosomes, causing severe rearrangements involving telomere fusion and chromosome breakage. Chromosome losses do not affect the fitness of Zymoseptoria tritici in vitro, but some lead to increased virulence, suggesting an adaptive role of this extraordinary chromosome instability.
Project description:Chromosome fusions threaten genome integrity and promote cancer by engaging catastrophic mutational processes, namely chromosome breakage-fusion-bridge cycles and chromothripsis. Chromosome fusions are frequent in cells incurring telomere dysfunctions or those exposed to DNA breakage. Their occurrence and therefore their contribution to genome instability in unchallenged cells is unknown. To address this issue, we constructed a genetic assay able to capture and quantify rare chromosome fusions in budding yeast. This chromosome fusion capture (CFC) assay relies on the controlled inactivation of one centromere to rescue unstable dicentric chromosome fusions. It is sensitive enough to quantify the basal rate of end-to-end chromosome fusions occurring in wild-type cells. These fusions depend on canonical nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). Our results show that chromosome end protection results from a trade-off at telomeres between positive effectors (Rif2, Sir4, telomerase) and a negative effector partially antagonizing them (Rif1). The CFC assay also captures NHEJ-dependent chromosome fusions induced by ionizing radiation. It provides evidence for chromosomal rearrangements stemming from a single photon-matter interaction.