Multiple pathways suppress telomere addition to DNA breaks in the Drosophila germline.
ABSTRACT: Telomeres protect chromosome ends from being repaired as double-strand breaks (DSBs). Just as DSB repair is suppressed at telomeres, de novo telomere addition is suppressed at the site of DSBs. To identify factors responsible for this suppression, we developed an assay to monitor de novo telomere formation in Drosophila, an organism in which telomeres can be established on chromosome ends with essentially any sequence. Germline expression of the I-SceI endonuclease resulted in precise telomere formation at its cut site with high efficiency. Using this assay, we quantified the frequency of telomere formation in different genetic backgrounds with known or possible defects in DNA damage repair. We showed that disruption of DSB repair factors (Rad51 or DNA ligase IV) or DSB sensing factors (ATRIP or MDC1) resulted in more efficient telomere formation. Interestingly, partial disruption of factors that normally regulate telomere protection (ATM or NBS) also led to higher frequencies of telomere formation, suggesting that these proteins have opposing roles in telomere maintenance vs. establishment. In the ku70 mutant background, telomere establishment was preceded by excessive degradation of DSB ends, which were stabilized upon telomere formation. Most strikingly, the removal of ATRIP caused a dramatic increase in telomeric retrotransposon attachment to broken ends. Our study identifies several pathways that suppress telomere addition at DSBs, paving the way for future mechanistic studies.
Project description:Cells have evolved conserved mechanisms to protect DNA ends, such as those at the termini of linear chromosomes, or those at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In eukaryotes, DNA ends at chromosomal termini are packaged into proteinaceous structures called telomeres. Telomeres protect chromosome ends from erosion, inadvertent activation of the cellular DNA damage response (DDR), and telomere fusion. In contrast, cells must respond to damage-induced DNA ends at DSBs by harnessing the DDR to restore chromosome integrity, avoiding genome instability and disease. Intriguingly, Rif1 (Rap1-interacting factor 1) has been implicated in telomere homeostasis as well as DSB repair. The protein was first identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as being part of the proteinaceous telosome. In mammals, RIF1 is not associated with intact telomeres, but was found at chromosome breaks, where RIF1 has emerged as a key mediator of pathway choice between the two evolutionary conserved DSB repair pathways of non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR). While this functional dichotomy has long been a puzzle, recent findings link yeast Rif1 not only to telomeres, but also to DSB repair, and mechanistic parallels likely exist. In this review, we will provide an overview of the actions of Rif1 at DNA ends and explore how exclusion of end-processing factors might be the underlying principle allowing Rif1 to fulfill diverse biological roles at telomeres and chromosome breaks.
Project description:Shelterin protects chromosome ends from the DNA damage response. Although the mechanism of telomere protection has been studied extensively, the fate of double-strand breaks (DSBs) inside telomeres is not known. Here, we report that telomere-internal FokI-induced DSBs activate ATM kinase-dependent signaling in S-phase but are well tolerated and repaired efficiently. Homologous recombination contributes to repair, leading to increased telomere length heterogeneity typical of the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway. Furthermore, cells accumulate extra chromosomal telomeric signals (ECTS), a second hallmark of ALT. Telomere-internal DSBs are also repaired by a PARP1- and Ligase3-dependent reaction, suggesting alternative non-homologous end-joining (alt-NHEJ), which relies on microhomology at DSBs. However, as resected telomere-internal DSBs have perfect homology, their PARP1/Lig3-dependent end-joining may be more akin to single strand break repair. We conclude that shelterin does not repress ATM kinase signaling or DSB repair at telomere-internal sites, thereby allowing DNA repair to maintain telomere integrity.
Project description:DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly hazardous for genome integrity, because failure to repair these lesions can lead to genomic instability. DSBs can arise accidentally at unpredictable locations into the genome, but they are also normal intermediates in meiotic recombination. Moreover, the natural ends of linear chromosomes resemble DSBs. Although intrachromosomal DNA breaks are potent stimulators of the DNA damage response, the natural ends of linear chromosomes are packaged into protective structures called telomeres that suppress DNA repair/recombination activities. Although DSBs and telomeres are functionally different, they both undergo 5'-3' nucleolytic degradation of DNA ends, a process known as resection. The resulting 3'-single-stranded DNA overhangs enable repair of DSBs by homologous recombination (HR), whereas they allow the action of telomerase at telomeres. The molecular activities required for DSB and telomere end resection are similar, indicating that the initial steps of HR and telomerase-mediated elongation are related. Resection of both DSBs and telomeres must be tightly regulated in time and space to ensure genome stability and cell survival.
Project description:Telomeres prevent chromosome ends from being recognized as double-stranded breaks (DSBs). Meanwhile, G/C-rich repetitive telomeric DNA is susceptible to attack by DNA-damaging agents. How cells balance the need to protect DNA ends and the need to repair DNA lesions in telomeres is unknown. Here we show that telomeric DSBs are efficiently repaired in proliferating cells, but are irreparable in stress-induced and replicatively senescent cells. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, we specifically induce DSBs at telomeric or subtelomeric regions. We find that DSB repair (DSBR) at subtelomeres occurs in an error-prone manner resulting in small deletions, suggestive of NHEJ. However, DSBR in telomeres involves 'telomere-clustering', 3'-protruding C-rich telomeric ssDNA, and HR between sister-chromatid or interchromosomal telomeres. DSBR in telomeres is suppressed by deletion or inhibition of Rad51. These findings reveal proliferation-dependent DSBR in telomeres and suggest that telomeric HR, which is normally constitutively suppressed, is activated in the context of DSBR.
Project description:The mechanisms by which cells accurately distinguish between DNA double-strand break (DSB) ends and telomeric DNA ends remain poorly defined. Recent investigations have revealed intriguing interactions between DNA repair and telomeres. We were the first to report a requirement for the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) protein DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) in the effective end-capping of mammalian telomeres. Here, we report our continued characterization of uncapped (as opposed to shortened) dysfunctional telomeres in cells deficient for the catalytic subunit of DNA-PK (DNA-PKcs) and shed light on their consequence. We present evidence in support of our model that uncapped telomeres in this repair-deficient background are inappropriately detected and processed as DSBs and thus participate not only in spontaneous telomere-telomere fusion but, importantly, also in ionizing radiation-induced telomere-DSB fusion events. We show that phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs itself (Thr-2609 cluster) is a critical event for proper telomere end-processing and that ligase IV (NHEJ) is required for uncapped telomere fusion. We also find uncapped telomeres in cells from the BALB/c mouse, which harbors two single-nucleotide polymorphisms that result in reduced DNA-PKcs abundance and activity, most markedly in mammary tissue, and are both radiosensitive and susceptible to radiogenic mammary cancer. Our results suggest mechanistic links between uncapped/dysfunctional telomeres in DNA-PKcs-deficient backgrounds, radiation-induced instability, and breast cancer. These studies provide the first direct evidence of genetic susceptibility and environmental insult interactions leading to a unique and ongoing form of genomic instability capable of driving carcinogenesis.
Project description:Telomeres at chromosome ends are normally masked from proteins that signal and repair DNA double strand breaks (DSBs). Bulky DNA lesions can cause DSBs if they block DNA replication, unless they are bypassed by translesion (TLS) DNA polymerases. Here, we investigated roles for TLS polymerase ?, (pol?) in preserving telomeres following acute physical UVC exposure and chronic chemical Cr(VI) exposure, which both induce blocking lesions. We report that pol? protects against cytotoxicity and replication stress caused by Cr(VI), similar to results with ultraviolet C light (UVC). Both exposures induce ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase and pol? accumulation into nuclear foci and localization to individual telomeres, consistent with replication fork stalling at DNA lesions. Pol?-deficient cells exhibited greater numbers of telomeres that co-localized with DSB response proteins after exposures. Furthermore, the genotoxic exposures induced telomere aberrations associated with failures in telomere replication that were suppressed by pol?. We propose that pol?'s ability to bypass bulky DNA lesions at telomeres is critical for proper telomere replication following genotoxic exposures.
Project description:Repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by homologous recombination (HR) requires mobilization of chromatin for homology searches that allow interaction of the sequence to be repaired and its template DNA. Here we describe a system to rapidly induce DSBs at telomeres and track their movement, as well as a semi-automated workflow for quantitative analysis. We have successfully used this approach to show that DSBs targeted to telomeres in cells utilizing the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism increase their diffusion and subsequent long-range directional movement to merge with telomeres on other chromosomes. These methods are simple to implement and are compatible with almost any cell line or in vivo microscopy setup. The magnitude of DSB-induced telomere mobility allows the investigator to easily test for factors regulating telomere mobility during ALT.
Project description:Alpha thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked chromatin remodeler (ATRX), a DAXX (death domain-associated protein) interacting protein, is often lost in cells using the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway, but it is not known how ATRX loss leads to ALT. We report that ATRX deletion from mouse cells altered the repair of telomeric double-strand breaks (DSBs) and induced ALT-like phenotypes, including ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia (PML) bodies (APBs), telomere sister chromatid exchanges (T-SCEs), and extrachromosomal telomeric signals (ECTSs). Mechanistically, we show that ATRX affects telomeric DSB repair by promoting cohesion of sister telomeres and that loss of ATRX in ALT cells results in diminished telomere cohesion. In addition, we document a role for DAXX in the repair of telomeric DSBs. Removal of telomeric cohesion in combination with DAXX deficiency recapitulates all telomeric DSB repair phenotypes associated with ATRX loss. The data reveal that ATRX has an effect on telomeric DSB repair and that this role involves both telomere cohesion and a DAXX-dependent pathway.
Project description:DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) pose a threat to genome stability and are repaired through multiple mechanisms. Rarely, telomerase, the enzyme that maintains telomeres, acts upon a DSB in a mutagenic process termed telomere healing. The probability of telomere addition is increased at specific genomic sequences termed sites of repair-associated telomere addition (SiRTAs). By monitoring repair of an induced DSB, we show that SiRTAs on chromosomes V and IX share a bipartite structure in which a core sequence (Core) is directly targeted by telomerase, while a proximal sequence (Stim) enhances the probability of de novo telomere formation. The Stim and Core sequences are sufficient to confer a high frequency of telomere addition to an ectopic site. Cdc13, a single-stranded DNA binding protein that recruits telomerase to endogenous telomeres, is known to stimulate de novo telomere addition when artificially recruited to an induced DSB. Here we show that the ability of the Stim sequence to enhance de novo telomere addition correlates with its ability to bind Cdc13, indicating that natural sites at which telomere addition occurs at high frequency require binding by Cdc13 to a sequence 20 to 100 bp internal from the site at which telomerase acts to initiate de novo telomere addition.
Project description:Analysis of terminal deletion chromosomes indicates that a sequence-independent mechanism regulates protection of Drosophila telomeres. Mutations in Drosophila DNA damage response genes such as atm/tefu, mre11, or rad50 disrupt telomere protection and localization of the telomere-associated proteins HP1 and HOAP, suggesting that recognition of chromosome ends contributes to telomere protection. However, the partial telomere protection phenotype of these mutations limits the ability to test if they act in the epigenetic telomere protection mechanism. We examined the roles of the Drosophila atm and atr-atrip DNA damage response pathways and the nbs homolog in DNA damage responses and telomere protection. As in other organisms, the atm and atr-atrip pathways act in parallel to promote telomere protection. Cells lacking both pathways exhibit severe defects in telomere protection and fail to localize the protection protein HOAP to telomeres. Drosophila nbs is required for both atm- and atr-dependent DNA damage responses and acts in these pathways during DNA repair. The telomere fusion phenotype of nbs is consistent with defects in each of these activities. Cells defective in both the atm and atr pathways were used to examine if DNA damage response pathways regulate telomere protection without affecting telomere specific sequences. In these cells, chromosome fusion sites retain telomere-specific sequences, demonstrating that loss of these sequences is not responsible for loss of protection. Furthermore, terminally deleted chromosomes also fuse in these cells, directly implicating DNA damage response pathways in the epigenetic protection of telomeres. We propose that recognition of chromosome ends and recruitment of HP1 and HOAP by DNA damage response proteins is essential for the epigenetic protection of Drosophila telomeres. Given the conserved roles of DNA damage response proteins in telomere function, related mechanisms may act at the telomeres of other organisms.