Phosphorylated (pT371)TRF1 is recruited to sites of DNA damage to facilitate homologous recombination and checkpoint activation.
ABSTRACT: TRF1, a duplex telomeric DNA-binding protein, plays an important role in telomere metabolism. We have previously reported that a fraction of endogenous TRF1 can stably exist free of telomere chromatin when it is phosphorylated at T371 by Cdk1; however, the role of this telomere-free (pT371)TRF1 has yet to be fully characterized. Here we show that phosphorylated (pT371)TRF1 is recruited to sites of DNA damage, forming damage-induced foci in response to ionizing radiation (IR), etoposide and camptothecin. We find that IR-induced (pT371)TRF1 foci formation is dependent on the ATM- and Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1-mediated DNA damage response. While loss of functional BRCA1 impairs the formation of IR-induced (pT371)TRF1 foci, depletion of either 53BP1 or Rif1 stimulates IR-induced (pT371)TRF1 foci formation. In addition, we show that TRF1 depletion or the lack of its phosphorylation at T371 impairs DNA end resection and repair of nontelomeric DNA double-strand breaks by homologous recombination. The lack of TRF1 phosphorylation at T371 also hampers the activation of the G2/M checkpoint and sensitizes cells to PARP inhibition, IR and camptothecin. Collectively, these results reveal a novel but important function of phosphorylated (pT371)TRF1 in facilitating DNA double-strand break repair and the maintenance of genome integrity.
Project description:Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), a PI-3 kinase essential for maintaining genomic stability, has been shown to regulate TRF1, a negative mediator of telomerase-dependent telomere extension. However, little is known about ATM-mediated TRF1 phosphorylation site(s) in vivo. Here, we report that ATM phosphorylates S367 of TRF1 and that this phosphorylation renders TRF1 free of chromatin. We show that phosphorylated (pS367)TRF1 forms distinct non-telomeric subnuclear foci and that these foci occur predominantly in S and G2 phases, implying that their formation is cell cycle regulated. We show that phosphorylated (pS367)TRF1-containing foci are sensitive to proteasome inhibition. We find that a phosphomimic mutation of S367D abrogates TRF1 binding to telomeric DNA and renders TRF1 susceptible to protein degradation. In addition, we demonstrate that overexpressed TRF1-S367D accumulates in the subnuclear domains containing phosphorylated (pS367)TRF1 and that these subnuclear domains overlap with nuclear proteasome centers. Taken together, these results suggest that phosphorylated (pS367)TRF1-containing foci may represent nuclear sites for TRF1 proteolysis. Furthermore, we show that TRF1 carrying the S367D mutation is unable to inhibit telomerase-dependent telomere lengthening or to suppress the formation of telomere doublets and telomere loss in TRF1-depleted cells, suggesting that S367 phosphorylation by ATM is important for the regulation of telomere length and stability.
Project description:Telomeres and the insulin/PI3K pathway are considered hallmarks of aging and cancer. Here, we describe a role for PI3K/AKT in the regulation of TRF1, an essential component of the shelterin complex. PI3K and AKT chemical inhibitors reduce TRF1 telomeric foci and lead to increased telomeric DNA damage and fragility. We identify the PI3Kα isoform as responsible for this TRF1 inhibition. TRF1 is phosphorylated at different residues by AKT and these modifications regulate TRF1 protein stability and TRF1 binding to telomeric DNA in vitro and are important for in vivo TRF1 telomere location and cell viability. Patient-derived breast cancer PDX mouse models that effectively respond to a PI3Kα specific inhibitor, BYL719, show decreased TRF1 levels and increased DNA damage. These findings functionally connect two of the major pathways for cancer and aging, telomeres and the PI3K pathway, and pinpoint PI3K and AKT as novel targets for chemical modulation of telomere protection.
Project description:Precise regulation of DNA damage response is crucial for cellular survival after DNA damage, and its abrogation often results in genomic instability in cancer. Phosphorylated histone H2AX (?H2AX) forms nuclear foci at sites of DNA damage and facilitates DNA damage response and repair. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short, nonprotein-encoding RNA molecules, which posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression by repressing translation of and/or degrading mRNA. How miRNAs modulate DNA damage response is largely unknown. In this study, we developed a cell-based screening assay using ionizing radiation (IR)-induced ?H2AX foci formation in a human osteosarcoma cell line, U2OS, as the readout. By screening a library of human miRNA mimics, we identified several miRNAs that inhibited ?H2AX foci formation. Among them, miR-138 directly targeted the histone H2AX 3'-untranslated region, reduced histone H2AX expression, and induced chromosomal instability after DNA damage. Overexpression of miR-138 inhibited homologous recombination and enhanced cellular sensitivity to multiple DNA-damaging agents (cisplatin, camptothecin, and IR). Reintroduction of histone H2AX in miR-138 overexpressing cells attenuated miR-138-mediated sensitization to cisplatin and camptothecin. Our study suggests that miR-138 is an important regulator of genomic stability and a potential therapeutic agent to improve the efficacy of radiotherapy and chemotherapy with DNA-damaging agents.
Project description:Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes which protect the ends of linear chromosomes from detection as DNA damage and provide a sequence buffer against replication-associated shortening. In mammals, telomeres consist of repetitive DNA sequence (TTAGGG) and associated proteins. The telomeric core complex is called shelterin and is comprised of the proteins TRF1, TRF2, POT1, TIN2, TPP1 and RAP1. Excessive telomere shortening or de-protection of telomeres through the loss of shelterin subunits allows the detection of telomeres as DNA damage, which can be visualized as DNA damage protein foci at chromosome ends called TIF (Telomere Dysfunction-Induced Foci). We sought to exploit the TIF phenotype as marker for telomere dysfunction to identify novel genes involved in telomere protection by siRNA-mediated knock-down of a set of 386 candidates. Here we report the establishment, specificity and feasibility of such a screen and the results of the genes tested. Only one of the candidate genes showed a unique TIF phenotype comparable to the suppression of the main shelterin components TRF2 or TRF1 and that gene was identified as a TRF1-like pseudogene. We also identified a weak TIF phenotype for SKIIP (SNW1), a splicing factor and transcriptional co-activator. However, the knock-down of SKIIP also induced a general, not telomere-specific DNA damage response, which complicates conclusions about a telomeric role. In summary, this report is a technical demonstration of the feasibility of a cell-based screen for telomere deprotection with the potential of scaling it to a high-throughput approach.
Project description:Human SNM1B/Apollo is involved in the cellular response to DNA-damage, however, its precise role is unknown. Recent reports have implicated hSNM1B in the protection of telomeres. We have found hSNM1B to interact with TRF2, a protein which functions in telomere protection and in an early response to ionizing radiation. Here we show that endogenous hSNM1B forms foci which colocalize at telomeres with TRF1 and TRF2. However, we observed that additional hSNM1B foci could be induced upon exposure to ionizing radiation (IR). In live-cell-imaging experiments, hSNM1B localized to photo-induced double-strand breaks (DSBs) within 10s post-induction. Further supporting a role for hSNM1B in the early stages of the cellular response to DSBs, we observed that autophosphorylation of ATM, as well as the phosphorylation of ATM target proteins in response to IR, was attenuated in cells depleted of hSNM1B. These observations suggest an important role for hSNM1B in the response to IR damage, a role that may be, in part, upstream of the central player in maintenance of genome integrity, ATM.
Project description:Telomeric repeat binding factor 1 (TRF1) is essential to the maintenance of telomere chromatin structure and integrity. However, how telomere integrity is maintained, especially in response to damage, remains poorly understood. Here, we identify Nek7, a member of the Never in Mitosis Gene A (NIMA) kinase family, as a regulator of telomere integrity. Nek7 is recruited to telomeres and stabilizes TRF1 at telomeres after damage in an ATM activation-dependent manner. Nek7 deficiency leads to telomere aberrations, long-lasting ?H2AX and 53BP1 foci, and augmented cell death upon oxidative telomeric DNA damage. Mechanistically, Nek7 interacts with and phosphorylates TRF1 on Ser114, which prevents TRF1 from binding to Fbx4, an Skp1-Cul1-F box E3 ligase subunit, thereby alleviating proteasomal degradation of TRF1, leading to a stable association of TRF1 with Tin2 to form a shelterin complex. Our data reveal a mechanism of efficient protection of telomeres from damage through Nek7-dependent stabilization of TRF1.
Project description:Telomere integrity is critical for telomere function and genomic stability. We previously demonstrated that non-erythroid ?-spectrin (?IISp) is present in mammalian cell nuclei where it is important in repair of DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) and chromosome stability. We now demonstrate that ?IISp is also important for telomere maintenance after ICL damage. It localizes to telomeres in S phase after ICL damage where it has enhanced association with TRF1 and TRF2 and is required for recruitment of the ICL repair protein, XPF, to damage-induced foci at telomeres. In telomerase-positive normal cells depleted of ?IISp by siRNA or in Fanconi anemia, complementation group A (FA-A) cells, where ?IISp levels are 35-40% of normal, ICL damage results in failure of XPF to localize to telomeres, markedly increased telomere dysfunction-induced foci, followed by catastrophic loss of telomeres. Restoration of ?IISp levels to normal in FA-A cells corrects these deficiencies. Our studies demonstrate that ?IISp is critical for repair of DNA ICLs at telomeres, likely by facilitating the recruitment of repair proteins similar, but not identical, to its proposed role in repair of DNA ICLs in genomic DNA and that this function in turn is critical for telomere maintenance after DNA ICL damage.
Project description:Continuously dividing cells must be protected from telomeric and nontelomeric DNA damage in order to maintain their proliferative potential. Here, we report a novel telomere-protecting mechanism regulated by nucleostemin (NS). NS depletion increased the number of telomere damage foci in both telomerase-active (TA(+)) and alternative lengthening of telomere (ALT) cells and decreased the percentage of damaged telomeres associated with ALT-associated PML bodies (APB) and the number of APB in ALT cells. Mechanistically, NS could promote the recruitment of PML-IV to SUMOylated TRF1 in TA(+) and ALT cells. This event was stimulated by DNA damage. Supporting the importance of NS and PML-IV in telomere protection, we demonstrate that loss of NS or PML-IV increased the frequency of telomere damage and aberration, reduced telomeric length, and perturbed the TRF2(?B?M)-induced telomeric recruitment of RAD51. Conversely, overexpression of either NS or PML-IV protected ALT and TA(+) cells from telomere damage. This work reveals a novel mechanism in telomere protection.
Project description:Hint1 is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor gene and the underlying molecular mechanisms for its tumor suppressor function are unknown. In this study we demonstrate that HINT1 participates in ionizing radiation (IR)-induced DNA damage responses. In response to IR, HINT1 is recruited to IR-induced foci (IRIF) and associates with gamma-H2AX and ATM. HINT1 deficiency does not affect the formation of gamma-H2AX foci; however, it impairs the removal of gamma-H2AX foci after DNA damage and this is associated with impaired acetylation of gamma-H2AX. HINT1 deficiency also impairs acetylation of ATM and activation of ATM and its downstream effectors, and retards DNA repair, in response to IR. HINT1-deficient cells exhibit resistance to IR-induced apoptosis and several types of chromosomal abnormalities. Our findings suggest that the tumor suppressor function of HINT1 is caused by, at least in part, its normal role in enhancing cellular responses to DNA damage by regulating the functions of both gamma-H2AX and ATM.
Project description:Telomeres are considered anti-cancer targets, as telomere maintenance above a minimum length is necessary for cancer growth. Telomerase abrogation in cancer-prone mouse models, however, only decreased tumor growth after several mouse generations when telomeres reach a critically short length, and this effect was lost upon p53 mutation. Here, we address whether induction of telomere uncapping by inhibition of the TRF1 shelterin protein can effectively block cancer growth independently of telomere length. We show that genetic Trf1 ablation impairs the growth of p53-null K-Ras(G12V)-induced lung carcinomas and increases mouse survival independently of telomere length. This is accompanied by induction of telomeric DNA damage, apoptosis, decreased proliferation, and G2 arrest. Long-term whole-body Trf1 deletion in adult mice did not impact on mouse survival and viability, although some mice showed a moderately decreased cellularity in bone marrow and blood. Importantly, inhibition of TRF1 binding to telomeres by small molecules blocks the growth of already established lung carcinomas without affecting mouse survival or tissue function. Thus, induction of acute telomere uncapping emerges as a potential new therapeutic target for lung cancer.