Subtelomeric repetitive elements determine TERRA regulation by Rap1/Rif and Rap1/Sir complexes in yeast.
ABSTRACT: Telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA) has been implicated in the control of heterochromatin and telomerase. We demonstrate that yeast TERRA is regulated by telomere-binding proteins in a chromosome-end-specific manner that is dependent on subtelomeric repetitive DNA elements. At telomeres that contain only X-elements, the Rap1 carboxy-terminal domain recruits the Sir2/3/4 and Rif1/2 complexes to repress transcription in addition to promoting Rat1-nuclease-dependent TERRA degradation. At telomeres that contain Y' elements, however, Rap1 represses TERRA through recruitment of Rif1 and Rif2. Our work emphasizes the importance of subtelomeric DNA in the control of telomeric protein composition and telomere transcription.
Project description:Telomeres, the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, have a specialized chromatin structure that provides a stable chromosomal terminus. In budding yeast Rap1 protein binds to telomeric TG repeat and negatively regulates telomere length. Here we show that binding of multiple Rap1 proteins stimulates DNA double-stranded break (DSB) induction at both telomeric and non-telomeric regions. Consistent with the role of DSB induction, Rap1 stimulates nearby recombination events in a dosage-dependent manner. Rap1 recruits Rif1 and Rif2 to telomeres, but neither Rif1 nor Rif2 is required for DSB induction. Rap1-mediated DSB induction involves replication fork progression but inactivation of checkpoint kinase Mec1 does not affect DSB induction. Rap1 tethering shortens artificially elongated telomeres in parallel with telomerase inhibition, and this telomere shortening does not require homologous recombination. These results suggest that Rap1 contributes to telomere homeostasis by promoting chromosome breakage.
Project description:Chromosome ends, known as telomeres, have to be distinguished from DNA double-strand breaks that activate DNA damage checkpoints. In budding yeast, the Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 (MRX) complex associates with DNA ends and promotes checkpoint activation. Rap1 binds to double-stranded telomeric regions and recruits Rif1 and Rif2 to telomeres. Rap1 collaborates with Rif1 and Rif2 and inhibits MRX localization to DNA ends. This Rap1-Rif1-Rif2 function becomes attenuated at shortened telomeres. Here we show that Rap1 acts together with the subtelomere-binding protein Tbf1 and inhibits MRX localization to DNA ends. The placement of a subtelomeric sequence or TTAGGG repeats together with a short telomeric TG repeat sequence inhibits MRX accumulation at nearby DNA ends in a Tbf1-dependent manner. Moreover, tethering of both Tbf1 and Rap1 proteins decreases MRX and Tel1 accumulation at nearby DNA ends. This Tbf1- and Rap1-dependent pathway operates independently of Rif1 or Rif2 function. Depletion of Tbf1 protein stimulates checkpoint activation in cells containing short telomeres but not in cells containing normal-length telomeres. These data support a model in which Tbf1 and Rap1 collaborate to maintain genomic stability of short telomeres.
Project description:The yeast Rap1 protein plays an important role in transcriptional silencing and in telomere length homeostasis. Rap1 mediates silencing at the HM loci and at telomeres by recruiting the Sir3 and Sir4 proteins to chromatin via a Rap1 C-terminal domain, which also recruits the telomere length regulators, Rif1 and Rif2. We report the 1.85 A resolution crystal structure of the Rap1 C-terminus, which adopts an all-helical fold with no structural homologues. The structure was used to engineer surface mutations in Rap1, and the effects of these mutations on silencing and telomere length regulation were assayed in vivo. Our surprising finding was that there is no overlap between mutations affecting mating-type and telomeric silencing, suggesting that Rap1 plays distinct roles in silencing at the silent mating-type loci and telomeres. We also found novel Rap1 phenotypes and new separation-of-function mutants, which provide new tools for studying Rap1 function. Yeast two-hybrid studies were used to determine how specific mutations affect recruitment of Sir3, Rif1, and Rif2. A comparison of the yeast two-hybrid and functional data reveals patterns of protein interactions that correlate with each Rap1 phenotype. We find that Sir3 interactions are important for telomeric silencing, but not mating type silencing, and that Rif1 and Rif2 interactions are important in different subsets of telomeric length mutants. Our results show that the role of Rap1 in silencing differs between the HM loci and the telomeres and offer insight into the interplay between HM silencing, telomeric silencing, and telomere length regulation. These findings suggest a model in which competition and multiple recruitment events modulate silencing and telomere length regulation.
Project description:Eukaryotic cells distinguish their chromosome ends from accidental DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by packaging them into protective structures called telomeres that prevent DNA repair/recombination activities. Here we investigate the role of key telomeric proteins in protecting budding yeast telomeres from degradation. We show that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae shelterin-like proteins Rif1, Rif2, and Rap1 inhibit nucleolytic processing at both de novo and native telomeres during G1 and G2 cell cycle phases, with Rif2 and Rap1 showing the strongest effects. Also Yku prevents telomere resection in G1, independently of its role in non-homologous end joining. Yku and the shelterin-like proteins have additive effects in inhibiting DNA degradation at G1 de novo telomeres, where Yku plays the major role in preventing initiation, whereas Rif1, Rif2, and Rap1 act primarily by limiting extensive resection. In fact, exonucleolytic degradation of a de novo telomere is more efficient in yku70Delta than in rif2Delta G1 cells, but generation of ssDNA in Yku-lacking cells is limited to DNA regions close to the telomere tip. This limited processing is due to the inhibitory action of Rap1, Rif1, and Rif2, as their inactivation allows extensive telomere resection not only in wild-type but also in yku70Delta G1 cells. Finally, Rap1 and Rif2 prevent telomere degradation by inhibiting MRX access to telomeres, which are also protected from the Exo1 nuclease by Yku. Thus, chromosome end degradation is controlled by telomeric proteins that specifically inhibit the action of different nucleases.
Project description:Chromosome ends, known as telomeres, have to be distinguished from DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that activate the DNA-damage checkpoint. In budding yeast, the ATM homolog Tel1 associates preferentially with short telomeres and promotes telomere addition. Here, we show that the telomeric proteins Rif1 and Rif2 attenuate Tel1 recruitment to DNA ends through distinct mechanisms. Both Rif1 and Rif2 inhibit the localization of Tel1, but not the Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 (MRX) complex, to adjacent DNA ends. Rif1 function is weaker at short telomeric repeats compared with Rif2 function and is partly dependent on Rif2. Rif2 competes with Tel1 for binding to the C terminus of Xrs2. Once Tel1 is delocalized, MRX does not associate efficiently with Rap1-covered DNA ends. These results reveal a mechanism by which telomeric DNA sequences mask DNA ends from Tel1 recognition for the regulation of telomere length.
Project description:Rap1 is the main protein that binds double-stranded telomeric DNA in <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i>. Examination of the telomere functions of Rap1 is complicated by the fact that it also acts as a transcriptional regulator of hundreds of genes and is encoded by an essential gene. In this study, we disrupt Rap1 telomere association by expressing a mutant telomerase RNA subunit (tlc1-tm) that introduces mutant telomeric repeats. <i>tlc1-tm</i> cells grow similar to wild-type cells, although depletion of Rap1 at telomeres causes defects in telomere length regulation and telomere capping. Rif2 is a protein normally recruited to telomeres by Rap1, but we show that Rif2 can still associate with Rap1-depleted <i>tlc1-tm</i> telomeres, and that this association is required to inhibit telomere degradation by the MRX complex. Rif2 and the Ku complex work in parallel to prevent <i>tlc1-tm</i> telomere degradation; <i>tlc1-tm</i> cells lacking Rif2 and the Ku complex are inviable. The partially redundant mechanisms may explain the rapid evolution of telomere components in budding yeast species.
Project description:While telomere repeat-containing non-coding RNA has been identified in a variety of eukaryotes, its biological role is not yet clear. We have identified telomeric transcripts in fission yeast, a model system that combines precise genetic manipulability with telomeres remarkably similar to those of human. Like human and budding yeast, fission yeast harbours a population of telomeric RNA molecules containing G-rich telomeric repeats transcribed from the subtelomere to the telomere. In addition, we detect substantial levels of C-rich telomeric RNA whose appearance is independent of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, suggesting that the telomere repeats themselves serve as promoter sites; multiple distinct subtelomeric RNAs are also present. The regulation of these transcripts depends on the telomere-associated proteins Taz1 and Rap1, as deletion of taz1(+) or rap1(+) leads to increased levels of both telomere repeat-containing and subtelomeric transcripts. In contrast, loss of the heterochromatin proteins Swi6 or Clr4 or the telomerase regulator Rif1 results in elevated subtelomeric RNA levels while telomere-repeat containing transcript levels remain repressed. Coupled with the large body of knowledge surrounding the functions of telomeric and heterochromatin factors in fission yeast, these in vivo analyses suggest testable models for the roles of TERRA in telomere function.
Project description:Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are proposed to play a major role in telomere length alterations during aging. The mechanisms by which ROS disrupt telomeres remain unclear. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, telomere DNA consists of TG(1-3) repeats, which are maintained primarily by telomerase. Telomere length maintenance can be modulated by the expression level of telomerase subunits and telomerase activity. Additionally, telomerase-mediated telomere repeat addition is negatively modulated by the levels of telomere-bound Rap1-Rif1-Rif2 protein complex. Using a yeast strain defective in the major peroxiredoxin Tsa1 that is involved in ROS neutralization, we have investigated the effect of defective ROS detoxification on telomere DNA, telomerase, telomere-binding proteins, and telomere length. Surprisingly, the tsa1 mutant does not show significant increase in steady-state levels of oxidative DNA lesions at telomeres. The tsa1 mutant displays abnormal telomere lengthening, and reduction in oxidative exposure alleviates this phenotype. The telomere lengthening in the tsa1 cells was abolished by disruption of Est2, subtelomeric DNA, Rap1 C-terminus, or Rif2, but not by Rif1 deletion. Although telomerase expression and activity are not altered, telomere-bound Est2 is increased, while telomere-bound Rap1 is reduced in the tsa1 mutant. We propose that defective ROS scavenging can interfere with pathways that are critical in controlling telomere length homeostasis.
Project description:Telomere anchoring to nuclear envelope (NE) is a key feature of nuclear genome architecture. Peripheral localization of telomeres is important for chromatin silencing, telomere replication and for the control of inappropriate recombination. Here, we report that fission yeast quiescent cells harbor predominantly a single telomeric cluster anchored to the NE. Telomere cluster association to the NE relies on Rap1-Bqt4 interaction, which is impacted by the length of telomeric sequences. In quiescent cells, reducing telomere length or deleting bqt4, both result in an increase in transcription of the telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA). In the absence of Bqt4, telomere shortening leads to deep increase in TERRA level and the concomitant formation of subtelomeric rearrangements (STEEx) that accumulate massively in quiescent cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that Rap1-Bqt4-dependent telomere association to NE preserves telomere integrity in post-mitotic cells, preventing telomeric transcription and recombination. This defines the nuclear periphery as an area where recombination is restricted, creating a safe zone for telomeres of post-mitotic cells.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei causes human African trypanosomiasis and regularly switches its major surface antigen, VSG, thereby evading the host's immune response. VSGs are monoallelically expressed from subtelomeric expression sites (ESs), and VSG switching exploits subtelomere plasticity. However, subtelomere integrity is essential for T. brucei viability. The telomeric transcript, TERRA, was detected in T. brucei previously. We now show that the active ES-adjacent telomere is transcribed. We find that TbRAP1, a telomere protein essential for VSG silencing, suppresses VSG gene conversion-mediated switching. Importantly, TbRAP1 depletion increases the TERRA level, which appears to result from longer read-through into the telomere downstream of the active ES. Depletion of TbRAP1 also results in more telomeric RNA:DNA hybrids and more double strand breaks (DSBs) at telomeres and subtelomeres. In TbRAP1-depleted cells, expression of excessive TbRNaseH1, which cleaves the RNA strand of the RNA:DNA hybrid, brought telomeric RNA:DNA hybrids, telomeric/subtelomeric DSBs and VSG switching frequency back to WT levels. Therefore, TbRAP1-regulated appropriate levels of TERRA and telomeric RNA:DNA hybrid are fundamental to subtelomere/telomere integrity. Our study revealed for the first time an important role of a long, non-coding RNA in antigenic variation and demonstrated a link between telomeric silencing and subtelomere/telomere integrity through TbRAP1-regulated telomere transcription.