Matching Items (6)

128069-Thumbnail Image.png

Telomere biology and telomerase mutations in cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Description

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at linear chromosome termini, protecting chromosomes against end-to-end fusion and damage, providing chromosomal stability. Telomeres shorten with mitotic cellular division, but are maintained in cells

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at linear chromosome termini, protecting chromosomes against end-to-end fusion and damage, providing chromosomal stability. Telomeres shorten with mitotic cellular division, but are maintained in cells with high proliferative capacity by telomerase. Loss-of-function mutations in telomere-maintenance genes are genetic risk factors for cirrhosis development in humans and murine models. Telomerase deficiency provokes accelerated telomere shortening and dysfunction, facilitating genomic instability and oncogenesis. Here we examined whether telomerase mutations and telomere shortening were associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) secondary to cirrhosis. Telomere length of peripheral blood leukocytes was measured by Southern blot and qPCR in 120 patients with HCC associated with cirrhosis and 261 healthy subjects. HCC patients were screened for telomerase gene variants (in TERT and TERC) by Sanger sequencing. Age-adjusted telomere length was comparable between HCC patients and healthy subjects by both Southern blot and qPCR. Four non-synonymous TERT heterozygous variants were identified in four unrelated patients, resulting in a significantly higher mutation carrier frequency (3.3%) in patients as compared to controls (p = 0.02). Three of the four variants (T726M, A1062T, and V1090M) were previously observed in patients with other telomere diseases (severe aplastic anemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and cirrhosis). A novel TERT variant, A243V, was identified in a 65-year-old male with advanced HCC and cirrhosis secondary to chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol ingestion, but direct assay measurements in vitro did not detect modulation of telomerase enzymatic activity or processivity. In summary, constitutional variants resulting in amino acid changes in the telomerase reverse transcriptase were found in a small proportion of patients with cirrhosis-associated HCC.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-08-16

128473-Thumbnail Image.png

The functional requirement of two structural domains within telomerase RNA emerged early in eukaryotes

Description

Telomerase emerged during evolution as a prominent solution to the eukaryotic linear chromosome end-replication problem. Telomerase minimally comprises the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR) that provides

Telomerase emerged during evolution as a prominent solution to the eukaryotic linear chromosome end-replication problem. Telomerase minimally comprises the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR) that provides the template for telomeric DNA synthesis. While the TERT protein is well-conserved across taxa, TR is highly divergent amongst distinct groups of species. Herein, we have identified the essential functional domains of TR from the basal eukaryotic species Trypanosoma brucei, revealing the ancestry of TR comprising two distinct structural core domains that can assemble in trans with TERT and reconstitute active telomerase enzyme in vitro. The upstream essential domain of T. brucei TR, termed the template core, constitutes three short helices in addition to the 11-nt template. Interestingly, the trypanosome template core domain lacks the ubiquitous pseudoknot found in all known TRs, suggesting later evolution of this critical structural element. The template-distal domain is a short stem-loop, termed equivalent CR4/5 (eCR4/5). While functionally similar to vertebrate and fungal CR4/5, trypanosome eCR4/5 is structurally distinctive, lacking the essential P6.1 stem-loop. Our functional study of trypanosome TR core domains suggests that the functional requirement of two discrete structural domains is a common feature of TRs and emerged early in telomerase evolution.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-07-04

128430-Thumbnail Image.png

Structure and function of echinoderm telomerase RNA

Description

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that requires an integral telomerase RNA (TR) subunit, in addition to the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), for enzymatic function. The secondary structures of

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that requires an integral telomerase RNA (TR) subunit, in addition to the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), for enzymatic function. The secondary structures of TRs from the three major groups of species, ciliates, fungi, and vertebrates, have been studied extensively and demonstrate dramatic diversity. Herein, we report the first comprehensive secondary structure of TR from echinoderms—marine invertebrates closely related to vertebrates—determined by phylogenetic comparative analysis of 16 TR sequences from three separate echinoderm classes. Similar to vertebrate TR, echinoderm TR contains the highly conserved template/pseudoknot and H/ACA domains. However, echinoderm TR lacks the ancestral CR4/5 structural domain found throughout vertebrate and fungal TRs. Instead, echinoderm TR contains a distinct simple helical region, termed eCR4/5, that is functionally equivalent to the CR4/5 domain. The urchin and brittle star eCR4/5 domains bind specifically to their respective TERT proteins and stimulate telomerase activity. Distinct from vertebrate telomerase, the echinoderm TR template/pseudoknot domain with the TERT protein is sufficient to reconstitute significant telomerase activity. This gain-of-function of the echinoderm template/pseudoknot domain for conferring telomerase activity presumably facilitated the rapid structural evolution of the eCR4/5 domain throughout the echinoderm lineage. Additionally, echinoderm TR utilizes the template-adjacent P1.1 helix as a physical template boundary element to prevent nontelomeric DNA synthesis, a mechanism used by ciliate and fungal TRs. Thus, the chimeric and eccentric structural features of echinoderm TR provide unparalleled insights into the rapid evolution of telomerase RNP structure and function.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-11-23

A self-regulating template in human telomerase

Description

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template sequence from the integral TR. The specific mechanism of how the telomerase active site uses this short template region accurately and efficiently during processive DNA repeat synthesis has remained elusive. Here we report that the human TR template, in addition to specifying the DNA sequence, is embedded with a single-nucleotide signal to pause DNA synthesis. After the addition of a dT residue to the DNA primer, which is specified by the 49 rA residue in the template, telomerase extends the DNA primer with three additional nucleotides and then pauses DNA synthesis. This sequence-defined pause site coincides precisely with the helix paired region 1 (P1)-defined physical template boundary and precludes the incorporation of nontelomeric nucleotides from residues outside the template region. Furthermore, this sequence-defined pausing mechanism is a key determinant, in addition to the P1-defined template boundary, for generating the characteristic 6-nt ladder banding pattern of telomeric DNA products in vitro. In the absence of the pausing signal, telomerase stalls nucleotide addition at multiple sites along the template, generating DNA products with heterogeneous terminal repeat registers. Our findings demonstrate that this unique self-regulating mechanism of the human TR template is essential for high-fidelity synthesis of DNA repeats.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-08-05

129343-Thumbnail Image.png

Prevalent and distinct spliceosomal 3 '-end processing mechanisms for fungal telomerase RNA

Description

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated TER 3′-end cleavage mechanism in Neurospora crassa that is distinct from that found specifically in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. While the S. pombe TER intron contains the canonical 5′-splice site GUAUGU, the N. crassa TER intron contains a non-canonical 5′-splice site AUAAGU that alone prevents the second step of splicing and promotes spliceosomal cleavage. The unique N. crassa TER 5′-splice site sequence is evolutionarily conserved in TERs from Pezizomycotina and early branching Taphrinomycotina species. This suggests that the widespread and basal N. crassa-type spliceosomal cleavage mechanism is more ancestral than the S. pombe-type. The discovery of a prevalent, yet distinct, spliceosomal cleavage mechanism throughout diverse fungal clades furthers our understanding of TER evolution and non-coding RNA processing.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

153508-Thumbnail Image.png

Structure-function study of telomerase RNA from evolutionary disparate species: remarkable divergence in gross architecture with the preservation of critical universal structural elements

Description

Telomerase enzyme is a truly remarkable enzyme specialized for the addition of short, highly repetitive DNA sequences onto linear eukaryotic chromosome ends. The telomerase enzyme functions as a ribonucleoprotein,

Telomerase enzyme is a truly remarkable enzyme specialized for the addition of short, highly repetitive DNA sequences onto linear eukaryotic chromosome ends. The telomerase enzyme functions as a ribonucleoprotein, minimally composed of the highly conserved catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase and essential telomerase RNA component containing an internalized short template region within the vastly larger non-coding RNA. Even among closely related groups of species, telomerase RNA is astonishingly divergent in sequence, length, and secondary structure. This massive disparity is highly prohibitive for telomerase RNA identification from previously unexplored groups of species, which is fundamental for secondary structure determination. Combined biochemical enrichment and computational screening methods were employed for the discovery of numerous telomerase RNAs from the poorly characterized echinoderm lineage. This resulted in the revelation that--while closely related to the vertebrate lineage and grossly resembling vertebrate telomerase RNA--the echinoderm telomerase RNA central domain varies extensively in structure and sequence, diverging even within echinoderms amongst sea urchins and brittle stars. Furthermore, the origins of telomerase RNA within the eukaryotic lineage have remained a persistent mystery. The ancient Trypanosoma telomerase RNA was previously identified, however, a functionally verified secondary structure remained elusive. Synthetic Trypanosoma telomerase was generated for molecular dissection of Trypanosoma telomerase RNA revealing two RNA domains functionally equivalent to those found in known telomerase RNAs, yet structurally distinct. This work demonstrates that telomerase RNA is uncommonly divergent in gross architecture, while retaining critical universal elements.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015