Project description: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:Higher-order chromatin structure is often perturbed in cancer and other pathological states. Although several genetic and epigenetic differences have been charted between normal and breast cancer tissues, changes in higher-order chromatin organization during tumorigenesis have not been fully explored. To probe the differences in higher-order chromatin structure between mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells, we performed Hi-C analysis on MCF-10A mammary epithelial and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines.Our studies reveal that the small, gene-rich chromosomes chr16 through chr22 in the MCF-7 breast cancer genome display decreased interaction frequency with each other compared to the inter-chromosomal interaction frequency in the MCF-10A epithelial cells. Interestingly, this finding is associated with a higher occurrence of open compartments on chr16-22 in MCF-7 cells. Pathway analysis of the MCF-7 up-regulated genes located in altered compartment regions on chr16-22 reveals pathways related to repression of WNT signaling. There are also differences in intra-chromosomal interactions between the cell lines; telomeric and sub-telomeric regions in the MCF-10A cells display more frequent interactions than are observed in the MCF-7 cells.We show evidence of an intricate relationship between chromosomal organization and gene expression between epithelial and breast cancer cells. Importantly, this work provides a genome-wide view of higher-order chromatin dynamics and a resource for studying higher-order chromatin interactions in two cell lines commonly used to study the progression of breast cancer.
Project description:Telomerase-free cancer cells employ a recombination-based alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway that depends on ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (APBs), whose function is unclear. We find that APBs behave as liquid condensates in response to telomere DNA damage, suggesting two potential functions: condensation to enrich DNA repair factors and coalescence to cluster telomeres. To test these models, we developed a chemically induced dimerization approach to induce de novo APB condensation in live cells without DNA damage. We show that telomere-binding protein sumoylation nucleates APB condensation via interactions between small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) and SUMO interaction motif (SIM), and that APB coalescence drives telomere clustering. The induced APBs lack DNA repair factors, indicating that APB functions in promoting telomere clustering can be uncoupled from enriching DNA repair factors. Indeed, telomere clustering relies only on liquid properties of the condensate, as an alternative condensation chemistry also induces clustering independent of sumoylation. Our findings introduce a chemical dimerization approach to manipulate phase separation and demonstrate how the material properties and chemical composition of APBs independently contribute to ALT, suggesting a general framework for how chromatin condensates promote cellular functions.
Project description:Most cancer cells accumulate genomic abnormalities at a remarkably rapid rate, as they are unable to maintain their chromosome structure and number. Excessively short telomeres, a known source of chromosome instability, are observed in early human-cancer lesions. Besides telomere dysfunction, it has been suggested that a transient phase of polyploidization, in most cases tetraploidization, has a causative role in cancer. Proliferation of tetraploids can gradually generate subtetraploid lineages of unstable cells that might fire the carcinogenic process by promoting further aneuploidy and genomic instability. Given the significance of telomere dysfunction and tetraploidy in the early stages of carcinogenesis, we investigated whether there is a connection between these two important promoters of chromosomal instability. We report that human mammary epithelial cells exhibiting progressive telomere dysfunction, in a pRb deficient and wild-type p53 background, fail to complete the cytoplasmatic cell division due to the persistence of chromatin bridges in the midzone. Flow cytometry together with fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated an accumulation of binucleated polyploid cells upon serial passaging cells. Restoration of telomere function through hTERT transduction, which lessens the formation of anaphase bridges by recapping the chromosome ends, rescued the polyploid phenotype. Live-cell imaging revealed that these polyploid cells emerged after abortive cytokinesis due to the persistence of anaphase bridges with large intervening chromatin in the cleavage plane. In agreement with a primary role of anaphase bridge intermediates in the polyploidization process, treatment of HMEC-hTERT cells with bleomycin, which produces chromatin bridges through illegimitate repair, resulted in tetraploid binucleated cells. Taken together, we demonstrate that human epithelial cells exhibiting physiological telomere dysfunction engender tetraploid cells through interference of anaphase bridges with the completion of cytokinesis. These observations shed light on the mechanisms operating during the initial stages of human carcinogenesis, as they provide a link between progressive telomere dysfunction and tetraploidy.
Project description:During meiotic prophase, telomeres cluster, forming the bouquet chromosome arrangement, and facilitate homologous chromosome pairing. In fission yeast, bouquet formation requires switching of telomere and centromere positions. Centromeres are located at the spindle pole body (SPB) during mitotic interphase, and upon entering meiosis, telomeres cluster at the SPB, followed by centromere detachment from the SPB. Telomere clustering depends on the formation of the microtubule-organizing center at telomeres by the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton complex (LINC), while centromere detachment depends on disassembly of kinetochores, which induces meiotic centromere formation. However, how the switching of telomere and centromere positions occurs during bouquet formation is not fully understood. Here, we show that, when impaired telomere interaction with the LINC or microtubule disruption inhibited telomere clustering, kinetochore disassembly-dependent centromere detachment and accompanying meiotic centromere formation were also inhibited. Efficient centromere detachment required telomere clustering-dependent SPB recruitment of a conserved telomere component, Taz1, and microtubules. Furthermore, when artificial SPB recruitment of Taz1 induced centromere detachment in telomere clustering-defective cells, spindle formation was impaired. Thus, detachment of centromeres from the SPB without telomere clustering causes spindle impairment. These findings establish novel regulatory mechanisms, which prevent concurrent detachment of telomeres and centromeres from the SPB during bouquet formation and secure proper meiotic divisions.
Project description:Mammalian chromosome ends are protected by a specialized nucleoprotein complex called telomeres. Both shelterin, a telomere-specific multi-protein complex, and higher order telomeric chromatin structures combine to stabilize the chromosome ends. Here, we showed that TRF2, a component of shelterin, binds to core histones to protect chromosome ends from inappropriate DNA damage response and loss of telomeric DNA. The N-terminal Gly/Arg-rich domain (GAR domain) of TRF2 directly binds to the globular domain of core histones. The conserved arginine residues in the GAR domain of TRF2 are required for this interaction. A TRF2 mutant with these arginine residues substituted by alanine lost the ability to protect telomeres and induced rapid telomere shortening caused by the cleavage of a loop structure of the telomeric chromatin. These findings showed a previously unnoticed interaction between the shelterin complex and nucleosomal histones to stabilize the chromosome ends.
Project description:BRCA1 mutation is associated with carcinogenesis, especially of breast tissue. Telomere maintenance is crucial for malignant transformation. Being a part of the DNA repair machinery, BRCA1 may be implicated in telomere biology. We explored the role of BRCA1 in telomere maintenance in lymphocytes of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and in in vitro system by knocking down its expression in non-malignant breast epithelial cells.The results in both systems were similar. BRCA1/2 mutation caused perturbation of telomere homeostasis, shortening of the single stranded telomere overhang and increased the intercellular telomere length variability as well as the number of telomere free chromosomal ends and telomeric circles. These changes resulted in an increased DNA damage status. Telomerase activity, inducibility and expression remained unchanged. BRCA1 mutation resulted also in changes in the binding of shelterin proteins to telomeres. DNMT-1 levels were markedly reduced both in the carriers and in in vitro system. The methylation pattern of the sub-telomeric regions in carriers suggested hypomethylation in chromosome 10. The expression of a distinct set of genes was also changed, some of which may relate to pre-disposition to malignancy.These results show that BRCA gene products have a role in telomere length homeostasis. It is plausible that these perturbations contribute to malignant transformation in BRCA mutants.
Project description:When telomeres become critically short, DNA damage response factors are recruited at chromosome ends, initiating a cellular response to DNA damage. We performed proteomic isolation of chromatin fragments (PICh) in order to define changes in chromatin composition that occur upon onset of acute telomere dysfunction triggered by depletion of the telomere-associated factor TRF2. This unbiased purification of telomere-associated proteins in functional or dysfunctional conditions revealed the dynamic changes in chromatin composition that take place at telomeres upon DNA damage induction. On the basis of our results, we describe a critical role for the polycomb group protein Ring1b in nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ)-mediated end-to-end chromosome fusions. We show that cells with reduced levels of Ring1b have a reduced ability to repair uncapped telomeric chromatin. Our data represent an unbiased isolation of chromatin undergoing DNA damage and are a valuable resource to map the changes in chromatin composition in response to DNA damage activation.
Project description:We studied the 3D structural organization of the fission yeast genome, which emerges from the tethering of heterochromatic regions in otherwise randomly configured chromosomes represented as flexible polymer chains in an nuclear environment. This model is sufficient to explain in a statistical manner many experimentally determined distinctive features of the fission yeast genome, including chromatin interaction patterns from Hi-C experiments and the co-locations of functionally related and co-expressed genes, such as genes expressed by Pol-III. Our findings demonstrate that some previously described structure-function correlations can be explained as a consequence of random chromatin collisions driven by a few geometric constraints (mainly due to centromere-SPB and telomere-NE tethering) combined with the specific gene locations in the chromosome sequence. We also performed a comparative analysis between the fission and budding yeast genome structures, for which we previously detected a similar organizing principle. However, due to the different chromosome sizes and numbers, substantial differences are observed in the 3D structural genome organization between the two species, most notably in the nuclear locations of orthologous genes, and the extent of nuclear territories for genes and chromosomes. However, despite those differences, remarkably, functional similarities are maintained, which is evident when comparing spatial clustering of functionally related genes in both yeasts. Functionally related genes show a similar spatial clustering behavior in both yeasts, even though their nuclear locations are largely different between the yeast species.
Project description:During meiosis, telomeres cluster and promote homologous chromosome pairing. Telomere clustering requires the interaction of telomeres with the nuclear membrane proteins SUN (Sad1/UNC-84) and KASH (Klarsicht/ANC-1/Syne homology). The mechanism by which telomeres gather remains elusive. In this paper, we show that telomere clustering in fission yeast depends on microtubules and the microtubule motors, cytoplasmic dynein, and kinesins. Furthermore, the ?-tubulin complex (?-TuC) is recruited to SUN- and KASH-localized telomeres to form a novel microtubule-organizing center that we termed the "telocentrosome." Telocentrosome formation depends on the ?-TuC regulator Mto1 and on the KASH protein Kms1, and depletion of either Mto1 or Kms1 caused severe telomere clustering defects. In addition, the dynein light chain (DLC) contributes to telocentrosome formation, and simultaneous depletion of DLC and dynein also caused severe clustering defects. Thus, the telocentrosome is essential for telomere clustering. We propose that telomere-localized SUN and KASH induce telocentrosome formation and that subsequent microtubule motor-dependent aggregation of telocentrosomes via the telocentrosome-nucleated microtubules causes telomere clustering.