The DDR at telomeres lacking intact shelterin does not require substantial chromatin decompaction.
ABSTRACT: Telomeres are protected by shelterin, a six-subunit protein complex that represses the DNA damage response (DDR) at chromosome ends. Extensive data suggest that TRF2 in shelterin remodels telomeres into the t-loop structure, thereby hiding telomere ends from double-stranded break repair and ATM signaling, whereas POT1 represses ATR signaling by excluding RPA. An alternative protection mechanism was suggested recently by which shelterin subunits TRF1, TRF2, and TIN2 mediate telomeric chromatin compaction, which was proposed to minimize access of DDR factors. We performed superresolution imaging of telomeres in mouse cells after conditional deletion of TRF1, TRF2, or both, the latter of which results in the complete loss of shelterin. Upon removal of TRF1 or TRF2, we observed only minor changes in the telomere volume in most of our experiments. Upon codeletion of TRF1 and TRF2, the telomere volume increased by varying amounts, but even those samples exhibiting small changes in telomere volume showed DDR at nearly all telomeres. Upon shelterin removal, telomeres underwent 53BP1-dependent clustering, potentially explaining at least in part the apparent increase in telomere volume. Furthermore, chromatin accessibility, as determined by ATAC-seq (assay for transposase-accessible chromatin [ATAC] with high-throughput sequencing), was not substantially altered by shelterin removal. These results suggest that the DDR induced by shelterin removal does not require substantial telomere decompaction.
Project description:Telomeres are specialized nucleoprotein structures that protect chromosome ends from DNA damage response (DDR) and DNA rearrangements. The telomeric shelterin protein TRF2 suppresses the DDR, and this function has been attributed to its abilities to trigger t-loop formation or prevent massive decompaction and loss of density of telomeric chromatin. Here, we applied stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) to measure the sizes and shapes of functional human telomeres of different lengths and dysfunctional telomeres that elicit a DDR. Telomeres have an ovoid appearance with considerable plasticity in shape. Examination of many telomeres demonstrated that depletion of TRF2, TRF1, or both affected the sizes of only a small subset of telomeres. Costaining of telomeres with DDR markers further revealed that the majority of DDR signaling telomeres retained a normal size. Thus, DDR signaling at telomeres does not require decompaction. We propose that telomeres are monitored by the DDR machinery in the absence of telomere expansion and that the DDR is triggered by changes at the molecular level in structure and protein composition.
Project description:TRF2 and TRF1 are a key component in shelterin complex that associates with telomeric DNA and protects chromosome ends. BRM is a core ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Whether and how BRM-SWI/SNF complex is engaged in chromatin end protection by telomeres is unknown. Here, we report that depletion of BRM does not affect heterochromatin state of telomeres, but results in telomere dysfunctional phenomena including telomere uncapping and replication defect. Mechanistically, expression of TRF2 and TRF1 is jointly regulated by BRM-SWI/SNF complex, which is localized to promoter region of both genes and facilitates their transcription. BRM-deficient cells bear increased TRF2-free or TRF1-free telomeres due to insufficient expression. Importantly, BRM depletion-induced telomere uncapping or replication defect can be rescued by compensatory expression of exogenous TRF2 or TRF1, respectively. Together, these results identify a new function of BRM-SWI/SNF complex in enabling functional telomeres for maintaining genome stability.
Project description:Telomeres, repetitive DNA sequences at chromosome ends, are shielded against the DNA damage response (DDR) by the shelterin complex. To understand how shelterin protects telomere ends, we investigated the structural organization of telomeric chromatin in human cells using super-resolution microscopy. We found that telomeres form compact globular structures through a complex network of interactions between shelterin subunits and telomeric DNA, but not by DNA methylation, histone deacetylation, or histone trimethylation at telomeres and subtelomeric regions. Mutations that abrogate shelterin assembly or removal of individual subunits from telomeres cause up to a 10-fold increase in telomere volume. Decompacted telomeres accumulate DDR signals and become more accessible to telomere-associated proteins. Recompaction of telomeric chromatin using an orthogonal method displaces DDR signals from telomeres. These results reveal the chromatin remodeling activity of shelterin and demonstrate that shelterin-mediated compaction of telomeric chromatin provides robust protection of chromosome ends against the DDR machinery.
Project description:Human telomeres bind shelterin, the six-subunit protein complex that protects chromosome ends from the DNA damage response and regulates telomere length maintenance by telomerase. We used quantitative immunoblotting to determine the abundance and stoichiometry of the shelterin proteins in the chromatin-bound protein fraction of human cells. The abundance of shelterin components was similar in primary and transformed cells and was not correlated with telomere length. The duplex telomeric DNA binding factors in shelterin, TRF1 and TRF2, were sufficiently abundant to cover all telomeric DNA in cells with short telomeres. The TPP1.POT1 heterodimer was present 50-100 copies/telomere, which is in excess of its single-stranded telomeric DNA binding sites, indicating that some of the TPP1.POT1 in shelterin is not associated with the single-stranded telomeric DNA. TRF2 and Rap1 were present at 1:1 stoichiometry as were TPP1 and POT1. The abundance of TIN2 was sufficient to allow each TRF1 and TRF2 to bind to TIN2. Remarkably, TPP1 and POT1 were approximately 10-fold less abundant than their TIN2 partner in shelterin, raising the question of what limits the accumulation of TPP1 x POT1 at telomeres. Finally, we report that a 10-fold reduction in TRF2 affects the regulation of telomere length but not the protection of telomeres in tumor cell lines.
Project description:Telomere deprotection occurs during tumorigenesis and aging upon telomere shortening or loss of the telomeric shelterin component TRF2. Deprotected telomeres undergo changes in chromatin structure and elicit a DNA damage response (DDR) that leads to cellular senescence. The telomeric long noncoding RNA TERRA has been implicated in modulating the structure and processing of deprotected telomeres. Here, we characterize the human TERRA transcriptome at normal and TRF2-depleted telomeres and demonstrate that TERRA upregulation is occurring upon depletion of TRF2 at all transcribed telomeres. TRF2 represses TERRA transcription through its homodimerization domain, which was previously shown to induce chromatin compaction and to prevent the early steps of DDR activation. We show that TERRA associates with SUV39H1 H3K9 histone methyltransferase, which promotes accumulation of H3K9me3 at damaged telomeres and end-to-end fusions. Altogether our data elucidate the TERRA landscape and defines critical roles for this RNA in the telomeric DNA damage response.
Project description:The ends of eukaryotic chromosomes need to be protected from the activation of a DNA damage response that leads the cell to replicative senescence or apoptosis. In mammals, protection is accomplished by a six-factor complex named shelterin, which organizes the terminal TTAGGG repeats in a still ill-defined structure, the telomere. The stable interaction of shelterin with telomeres mainly depends on the binding of two of its components, TRF1 and TRF2, to double-stranded telomeric repeats. Tethering of TRF proteins to telomeres occurs in a chromatin environment characterized by a very compact nucleosomal organization. In this work we show that binding of TRF1 and TRF2 to telomeric sequences is modulated by the histone octamer. By means of in vitro models, we found that TRF2 binding is strongly hampered by the presence of telomeric nucleosomes, whereas TRF1 binds efficiently to telomeric DNA in a nucleosomal context and is able to remodel telomeric nucleosomal arrays. Our results indicate that the different behavior of TRF proteins partly depends on the interaction with histone tails of their divergent N-terminal domains. We propose that the interplay between the histone octamer and TRF proteins plays a role in the steps leading to telomere deprotection.
Project description:Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes that play essential roles in protecting chromosome ends. Mammalian telomeres consist of repetitive DNA sequences bound by the shelterin complex. In this complex, the POT1-TPP1 heterodimer binds to single-stranded telomeric DNAs, while TRF1 and TRF2-RAP1 interact with double-stranded telomeric DNAs. TIN2, the linchpin of this complex, simultaneously interacts with TRF1, TRF2, and TPP1 to mediate the stable assembly of the shelterin complex. However, the molecular mechanism by which TIN2 interacts with these proteins to orchestrate telomere protection remains poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of TIN2 in complex with TIN2-binding motifs from TPP1 and TRF2, revealing how TIN2 interacts cooperatively with TPP1 and TRF2. Unexpectedly, TIN2 contains a telomeric repeat factor homology (TRFH)-like domain that functions as a protein-protein interaction platform. Structure-based mutagenesis analyses suggest that TIN2 plays an important role in maintaining the stable shelterin complex required for proper telomere end protection.
Project description:TRF1 is a component of the shelterin complex at mammalian telomeres; however, a role for TRF1 in telomere biology in the context of the organism is unclear. In this study, we generated mice with transgenic TRF1 expression targeted to epithelial tissues (K5TRF1 mice). K5TRF1 mice have shorter telomeres in the epidermis than wild-type controls do, and these are rescued in the absence of the XPF nuclease, indicating that TRF1 acts as a negative regulator of telomere length by controlling XPF activity at telomeres, similar to what was previously described for TRF2-overexpressing mice (K5TRF2 mice). K5TRF1 cells also show increased end-to-end chromosomal fusions, multitelomeric signals, and increased telomere recombination, indicating an impact of TRF1 on telomere integrity, again similar to the case in K5TRF2 cells. Intriguingly, K5TRF1 cells, but not K5TRF2 cells, show increased mitotic spindle aberrations. TRF1 colocalizes with the spindle assembly checkpoint proteins BubR1 and Mad2 at mouse telomeres, indicating a link between telomeres and the mitotic spindle. Together, these results demonstrate that TRF1, like TRF2, negatively regulates telomere length in vivo by controlling the action of the XPF nuclease at telomeres; in addition, TRF1 has a unique role in the mitotic spindle checkpoint.
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:Telomeres are specialized heterochromatin at the ends of linear chromosomes. Telomeres are crucial for maintaining genome stability and play important roles in cellular senescence and tumor biology. Six core proteins-TRF1, TRF2, TIN2, POT1, TPP1 and Rap1 (termed the telosome or shelterin complex)-regulate telomere structure and function. One of these proteins, TIN2, regulates telomere length and structure indirectly by interacting with TRF1, TRF2 and TPP1, but no direct function has been attributed to TIN2. Here we present evidence for a TIN2 isoform (TIN2L) that differs from the originally described TIN2 isoform (TIN2S) in two ways: TIN2L contains an additional 97 amino acids, and TIN2L associates strongly with the nuclear matrix. Stringent salt and detergent conditions failed to extract TIN2L from the nuclear matrix, despite removing other telomere components, including TIN2S. In human mammary epithelial cells, each isoform showed a distinct nuclear distribution both as a function of cell cycle position and telomere length. Our results suggest a dual role for TIN2 in mediating the function of the shelterin complex and tethering telomeres to the nuclear matrix.