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In medio stat virtus : unanticipated consequences of telomere dysequilibrium.

Harrington L, Pucci F

Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, UK

The integrity of chromosome ends, or telomeres, depends on myriad processes that must balance the need to compact and protect the telomeric, G-rich DNA from detection as a double-stranded DNA break, and yet still permit access to enzymes that process, replicate and maintain a sufficient reserve of telomeric DNA. When unable to maintain this equilibrium, erosion of telomeres leads to perturbations at or near the telomeres themselves, including loss of binding by the telomere protective complex, shelterin, and alterations in transcription and post-translational modifications of histones. Although the catastrophic consequences of full telomere de-protection are well described, recent evidence points to other, less obvious perturbations that arise when telomere length equilibrium is altered. For example, critically short telomeres also perturb DNA methylation and histone post-translational modifications at distal sites throughout the genome. In murine stem cells for example, this dysregulated chromatin leads to inappropriate suppression of pluripotency regulator factors such asNanogThis review summarizes these recent findings, with an emphasis on how these genome-wide, telomere-induced perturbations can have profound consequences on cell function and fate.This article is part of the theme issue 'Understanding diversity in telomere dynamics'.

Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 2018;373(1741).

Pubmed ID: 29335368

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