Replication Timing of Human Telomeres is Conserved during Immortalization and Influenced by Respective Subtelomeres.
ABSTRACT: Telomeres are specific structures that protect chromosome ends and act as a biological clock, preventing normal cells from replicating indefinitely. Mammalian telomeres are replicated throughout S-phase in a predetermined order. However, the mechanism of this regulation is still unknown. We wished to investigate this phenomenon under physiological conditions in a changing environment, such as the immortalization process to better understand the mechanism for its control. We thus examined the timing of human telomere replication in normal and SV40 immortalized cells, which are cytogenetically very similar to cancer cells. We found that the timing of telomere replication was globally conserved under different conditions during the immortalization process. The timing of telomere replication was conserved despite changes in telomere length due to endogenous telomerase reactivation, in duplicated homologous chromosomes, and in rearranged chromosomes. Importantly, translocated telomeres, possessing their initial subtelomere, retained the replication timing of their homolog, independently of the proportion of the translocated arm, even when the remaining flanking DNA is restricted to its subtelomere, the closest chromosome-specific sequences (inferior to 500?kb). Our observations support the notion that subtelomere regions strongly influence the replication timing of the associated telomere.
Project description:The CST complex is a phylogenetically conserved protein complex consisting of CTC1/Cdc13, Stn1 and Ten1 that protects telomeres on linear chromosomes. Deletion of the fission yeast homologs stn1 and ten1 results in complete telomere loss; however, the precise function of Stn1 is still largely unknown. Here, we have isolated a high-temperature sensitive stn1 allele (termed stn1-1). stn1-1 cells abruptly lost telomeric sequence almost completely at the restrictive temperature. The loss of chromosomal DNA happened without gradual telomere shortening, and extended to 30 kb from the ends of chromosomes. We found transient and modest single-stranded G-strand exposure, but did not find any evidence of checkpoint activation in stn1-1 at the restrictive temperature. When we probed neutral-neutral 2D gels for subtelomere regions, we found no Y-arc-shaped replication intermediates in cycling cells. We conclude that the loss of telomere and subtelomere DNAs in stn1-1 cells at the restrictive temperature is caused by very frequent replication fork collapses specifically in subtelomere regions. Furthermore, we identified two independent suppressor mutants of the high-temperature sensitivity of stn1-1: a multi-copy form of pmt3 and a deletion of rif1. Collectively, we propose that fission yeast Stn1 primarily safeguards the semi-conservative DNA replication at telomeres and subtelomeres.
Project description:DNA replication is initiated at replication origins on chromosomes at their scheduled time during S phase of the cell cycle. Replication timing control is highly conserved among eukaryotes but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Recent studies have revealed that some telomere-binding proteins regulate replication timing at late-replicating origins throughout the genome. To investigate the molecular basis of this process, we analyzed the effects of excessive elongation of telomere DNA on replication timing by deleting telomere-associated shelterin proteins in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We found that rap1? and poz1? cells showed abnormally accelerated replication at internal late origins but not at subtelomere regions. These defects were suppressed by removal of telomere DNA and by deletion of the telomere-binding protein Taz1. Furthermore, Sds21-a counter protein phosphatase against Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK)-accumulated at elongated telomeres in a Taz1-dependent manner but was depleted at internal late origins, indicating that highly elongated telomeres sequester Sds21 at telomeres and perturb replication timing at internal regions. These results demonstrate that telomere DNA length is an important determinant of replication timing at internal regions of chromosomes in eukaryotes.
Project description:The subtelomere, a telomere-adjacent chromosomal domain, contains species-specific homologous DNA sequences, in addition to various genes. However, the functions of subtelomeres, particularly subtelomeric homologous (SH) sequences, remain elusive. Here, we report the first comprehensive analyses of the cellular functions of SH sequences in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Complete removal of SH sequences from the genome revealed that they are dispensable for mitosis, meiosis and telomere length control. However, when telomeres are lost, SH sequences prevent deleterious inter-chromosomal end fusion by facilitating intra-chromosomal circularization. Surprisingly, SH-deleted cells sometimes survive telomere loss through inter-chromosomal end fusions via homologous loci such as LTRs, accompanied by centromere inactivation of either chromosome. Moreover, SH sequences function as a buffer region against the spreading of subtelomeric heterochromatin into the neighboring gene-rich regions. Furthermore, we found a nucleosome-free region at the subtelomeric border, which may be a second barrier that blocks heterochromatin spreading into the subtelomere-adjacent euchromatin. Thus, our results demonstrate multiple defense functions of subtelomeres in chromosome homeostasis and gene expression.
Project description:The mechanisms governing telomere replication in humans are still poorly understood. To fill this gap, we investigated the timing of replication of single telomeres in human cells. Using in situ hybridization techniques, we have found that specific telomeres have preferential time windows for replication during the S-phase and that these intervals do not depend upon telomere length and are largely conserved between homologous chromosomes and between individuals, even in the presence of large subtelomeric segmental polymorphisms. Importantly, we show that one copy of the 3.3 kb macrosatellite repeat D4Z4, present in the subtelomeric region of the late replicating 4q35 telomere, is sufficient to confer both a more peripheral localization and a later-replicating property to a de novo formed telomere. Also, the presence of beta-satellite repeats next to a newly created telomere is sufficient to delay its replication timing. Remarkably, several native, non-D4Z4-associated, late-replicating telomeres show a preferential localization toward the nuclear periphery, while several early-replicating telomeres are associated with the inner nuclear volume. We propose that, in humans, chromosome arm-specific subtelomeric sequences may influence both the spatial distribution of telomeres in the nucleus and their replication timing.
Project description:Subtelomeres are patchworks of evolutionary conserved sequence blocks and harbor the transcriptional start sites for telomere repeat containing RNAs (TERRA). Recent studies suggest that the interplay between telomeres and subtelomeric chromatin is required for maintaining telomere function. To further characterize chromatin remodeling of subtelomeres in relation to telomere shortening and cellular senescence, we systematically quantified histone modifications and DNA methylation at the subtelomeres of chromosomes 7q and 11q in primary human WI-38 fibroblasts. Upon senescence, both subtelomeres were characterized by a decrease in markers of constitutive heterochromatin, suggesting relative chromatin relaxation. However, we did not find increased levels of markers of euchromatin or derepression of the 7q VIPR2 gene. The repressed state of the subtelomeres was maintained upon senescence, which could be attributed to a rise in levels of facultative heterochromatin markers at both subtelomeres. While senescence-induced subtelomeric chromatin remodeling was similar for both chromosomes, chromatin remodeling at TERRA promoters displayed chromosome-specific patterns. At the 7q TERRA promoter, chromatin structure was co-regulated with the more proximal subtelomere. In contrast, the 11q TERRA promoter, which was previously shown to be bound by CCCTC-binding factor CTCF, displayed lower levels of markers of constitutive heterochromatin that did not change upon senescence, whereas levels of markers of facultative heterochromatin decreased upon senescence. In line with the chromatin state data, transcription of 11q TERRA but not 7q TERRA was detected. Our study provides a detailed description of human subtelomeric chromatin dynamics and shows distinct regulation of the TERRA promoters of 7q and 11q upon cellular senescence.
Project description:Some human cancer cells achieve immortalization by using a recombinational mechanism termed ALT (alternative lengthening of telomeres). A characteristic feature of ALT cells is the presence of extremely long and heterogeneous telomeres. The molecular mechanism triggering and maintaining this pathway is currently unknown. In Kluyveromyces lactis, we have identified a novel allele of the STN1 gene that produces a runaway ALT-like telomeric phenotype by recombination despite the presence of an active telomerase pathway. Additionally, stn1-M1 cells are synthetically lethal in combination with rad52 and display chronic growth and telomere capping defects including extensive 3' single-stranded telomere DNA and highly elevated subtelomere gene conversion. Strikingly, stn1-M1 cells undergo a very high rate of telomere rapid deletion (TRD) upon reintroduction of STN1. Our results suggest that the protein encoded by STN1, which protects the terminal 3' telomere DNA, can regulate both ALT and TRD.
Project description:Detailed comprehensive knowledge of the structures of individual long-range telomere-terminal haplotypes are needed to understand their impact on telomere function, and to delineate the population structure and evolution of subtelomere regions. However, the abundance of large evolutionarily recent segmental duplications and high levels of large structural variations have complicated both the mapping and sequence characterization of human subtelomere regions. Here, we use high throughput optical mapping of large single DNA molecules in nanochannel arrays for 154 human genomes from 26 populations to present a comprehensive look at human subtelomere structure and variation. The results catalog many novel long-range subtelomere haplotypes and determine the frequencies and contexts of specific subtelomeric duplicons on each chromosome arm, helping to clarify the currently ambiguous nature of many specific subtelomere structures as represented in the current reference sequence (HG38). The organization and content of some duplicons in subtelomeres appear to show both chromosome arm and population-specific trends. Based upon these trends we estimate a timeline for the spread of these duplication blocks.
Project description:TERT promoter mutations (TPMs) are the most common noncoding mutations in cancer. The timing and consequences of TPMs have not been fully established. Here, we show that TPMs acquired at the transition from benign nevus to malignant melanoma do not support telomere maintenance. In vitro experiments revealed that TPMs do not prevent telomere attrition, resulting in cells with critically short and unprotected telomeres. Immortalization by TPMs requires a gradual up-regulation of telomerase, coinciding with telomere fusions. These data suggest that TPMs contribute to tumorigenesis by promoting immortalization and genomic instability in two phases. In an initial phase, TPMs do not prevent bulk telomere shortening but extend cellular life span by healing the shortest telomeres. In the second phase, the critically short telomeres lead to genome instability and telomerase is further up-regulated to sustain cell proliferation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:DNA packaging into chromatin regulates all DNA-related processes and at chromosomal ends could affect both essential functions of telomeres: protection against DNA damage response and telomere replication. Despite this primordial role of chromatin, little is known about chromatin organization, and in particular about nucleosome positioning on unmodified subtelomere-telomere junctions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. RESULTS:By ChEC experiments and indirect end-labeling, we characterized nucleosome positioning as well as specialized protein-DNA associations on most subtelomere-telomere junctions present in budding yeast. The results show that there is a relatively large nucleosome-free region at chromosome ends. Despite the absence of sequence homologies between the two major classes of subtelomere-telomere junctions (i.e.: Y'-telomeres and X-telomeres), all analyzed subtelomere-telomere junctions show a terminal nucleosome-free region just distally from the known Rap1-covered telomeric repeats. Moreover, previous evidence suggested a telomeric chromatin fold-back structure onto subtelomeric areas that supposedly was implicated in chromosome end protection. The in vivo ChEC method used herein in conjunction with several proteins in a natural context revealed no evidence for such structures in bulk chromatin. CONCLUSIONS:Our study allows a structural definition of the chromatin found at chromosome ends in budding yeast. This definition, derived with direct in vivo approaches, includes a terminal area that is free of nucleosomes, certain positioned nucleosomes and conserved DNA-bound protein complexes. This organization of subtelomeric and telomeric areas however does not include a telomeric cis-loopback conformation. We propose that the observations on such fold-back structures may report rare and/or transient associations and not stable or constitutive structures.
Project description:Telomeres are distinct structures, composed of short, repeated sequences, at the ends of all eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomeres have been shown in yeast to induce late replication in S phase and to silence transcription of neighboring genes. To examine the possibility of similar effects in human chromosomes, we studied cells from a subject with a microdeletion of 130 kb at the end of one copy of chromosome arm 22q, repaired by the addition of telomere repeats. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization of S phase nuclei, a distinct difference was found in the replication timing of the breakpoint region between the intact and truncated copies of chromosome 22. This difference was evident as a shift from middle to late replication time of the breakpoint region adjacent to the repaired telomere. This finding suggests that the human telomere sequence influences activation of adjacent replication origin(s). The difference in replication timing between the two chromosomes was not associated with differences in sensitivity to digestion by DNase I or with methylation of regions immediately adjacent to the breakpoint. Furthermore, both alleles of arylsulfatase A, a gene located at a distance of approximately 54 kb from the breakpoint, were expressed. We conclude that as in yeast, the proximity of telomeric DNA may induce a positional effect that delays the replication of adjacent chromosomal regions in humans.