3 years ago

Snail1 transcription factor controls telomere transcription and integrity.

Alba Millanes-Romero, Sandra Peiró, Antonio García de Herreros, Sílvia Canudas, Rocco Mazzolini, Andrea Garcia-Garijo, Núria Gonzàlez, Susan Smith
Besides controlling epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cell invasion, the Snail1 transcriptional factor also provides cells with cancer stem cell features. Since telomere maintenance is essential for stemness, we have examined the control of telomere integrity by Snail1. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis indicates that Snail1-depleted mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have both a dramatic increase of telomere alterations and shorter telomeres. Remarkably, Snail1-deficient MSC present higher levels of both telomerase activity and the long non-coding RNA called telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA), an RNA that controls telomere integrity. Accordingly, Snail1 expression downregulates expression of the telomerase gene (TERT) as well as of TERRA 2q, 11q and 18q. TERRA and TERT are transiently downregulated during TGFβ-induced EMT in NMuMG cells, correlating with Snail1 expression. Global transcriptome analysis indicates that ectopic expression of TERRA affects the transcription of some genes induced during EMT, such as fibronectin, whereas that of TERT does not modify those genes. We propose that Snail1 repression of TERRA is required not only for telomere maintenance but also for the expression of a subset of mesenchymal genes.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkx958

DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx958

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