DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and short telomeres are structurally similar, yet have diametrically opposed fates. Cells must repair DSBs while blocking the action of telomerase on these ends. Short telomeres must avoid recognition by the DNA damage response while promoting telomerase recruitment. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Pif1 helicase, a telomerase inhibitor, lies at the interface of these end-fate decisions. Using Pif1 as a sensor, we uncover a transition point in which 34 bp of telomeric (TG1-3)n repeat sequence renders a DNA end insensitive to Pif1 action, thereby enabling extension by telomerase. A similar transition point exists at natural chromosome ends, where telomeres shorter than ~40 bp are inefficiently extended by telomerase. This phenomenon is not due to known Pif1 modifications and we instead propose that Cdc13 renders TG34+ ends insensitive to Pif1 action. We contend that the observed threshold of Pif1 activity defines a dividing line between DSBs and telomeres.
- Jonathan Strecker
- Daniel Durocher
- Daniel Durocher
- Sonia Stinus
- Michael Chang
- Daniel Durocher
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Kathleen Collins, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2017, Strecker et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Aberrant DNA methylation is a well‑known feature of tumours and has been associated with metastatic melanoma. However, since melanoma cells are highly heterogeneous, it has been challenging to use affected genes to predict tumour aggressiveness, metastatic evolution, and patients' outcomes. We hypothesized that common aggressive hypermethylation signatures should emerge early in tumorigenesis and should be shared in aggressive cells, independent of the physiological context under which this trait arises. We compared paired melanoma cell lines with the following properties: (i) each pair comprises one aggressive counterpart and its parental cell line, and (ii) the aggressive cell lines were each obtained from different host and their environment (human, rat, and mouse), though starting from the same parent cell line. Next, we developed a multi-step genomic pipeline that combines the DNA methylome profile with a chromosome cluster-oriented analysis. A total of 229 differentially hypermethylated genes were commonly found in the aggressive cell lines. Genome localization analysis revealed hypermethylation peaks and clusters, identifying eight hypermethylated gene promoters for validation in tissues from melanoma patients. Five CpG identified in primary melanoma tissues were transformed into a DNA methylation score that can predict survival (Log-rank test, p=0.0008). This strategy is potentially universally applicable to other diseases involving DNA methylation alterations.
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