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Ji G.,Nankai University | Ruan W.,China Agricultural University | Liu K.,Nankai University | Wang F.,Nankai University | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Telomere reprogramming and silencing of exogenous genes have been demonstrated in mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Pigs have the potential to provide xenotransplant for humans, and to model and test human diseases. We investigated the telomere length and maintenance in porcine iPS cells generated and cultured under various conditions. Telomere lengths vary among different porcine iPS cell lines, some with telomere elongation and maintenance, and others telomere shortening. Porcine iPS cells with sufficient telomere length maintenance show the ability to differentiate in vivo by teratoma formation test. IPS cells with short or dysfunctional telomeres exhibit reduced ability to form teratomas. Moreover, insufficient telomerase and incomplete telomere reprogramming and/or maintenance link to sustained activation of exogenous genes in porcine iPS cells. In contrast, porcine iPS cells with reduced expression of exogenous genes or partial exogene silencing exhibit insufficient activation of endogenous pluripotent genes and telomerase genes, accompanied by telomere shortening with increasing passages. Moreover, telomere doublets, telomere sister chromatid exchanges and t-circles that presumably are involved in telomere lengthening by recombination also are found in porcine iPS cells. These data suggest that both telomerase-dependent and telomerase-independent mechanisms are involved in telomere reprogramming during induction and passages of porcine iPS cells, but these are insufficient, resulting in increased telomere damage and shortening, and chromosomal instability. Active exogenes might compensate for insufficient activation of endogenous genes and incomplete telomere reprogramming and maintenance of porcine iPS cells. Further understanding of telomere reprogramming and maintenance may help improve the quality of porcine iPS cells. © 2013 Ji et al.

Dan J.,Nankai University | Liu Y.,Yale University | Liu N.,Nankai University | Chiourea M.,Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens Greece BRFAA | And 17 more authors.
Developmental Cell | Year: 2014

Telomere length homeostasis is essential for genomic stability and unlimited self-renewal of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). We show that telomere-associated protein Rif1 is required to maintain telomere length homeostasis by negatively regulating Zscan4 expression, a critical factor for telomere elongation by recombination. Depletion of Rif1 results in terminal hyperrecombination, telomere length heterogeneity, and chromosomal fusions. Reduction of Zscan4 by shRNA significantly rescues telomere recombination defects of Rif1-depleted ESCs and associated embryonic lethality. Further, Rif1 negatively modulates Zscan4 expression by maintaining H3K9me3 levels at subtelomeric regions. Mechanistically, Rif1 interacts and stabilizes H3K9 methylation complex. Thus, Rif1 regulates telomere length homeostasis of ESCs by mediating heterochromatic silencing. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Wang F.,Nankai University | Yin Y.,Nankai University | Ye X.,Nankai University | Liu K.,Nankai University | And 15 more authors.
Cell Research | Year: 2012

Rejuvenation of telomeres with various lengths has been found in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Mechanisms of telomere length regulation during induction and proliferation of iPSCs remain elusive. We show that telomere dynamics are variable in mouse iPSCs during reprogramming and passage, and suggest that these differences likely result from multiple potential factors, including the telomerase machinery, telomerase-independent mechanisms and clonal influences including reexpression of exogenous reprogramming factors. Using a genetic model of telomerase-deficient (Terc -/- and Terc /) cells for derivation and passages of iPSCs, we found that telomerase plays a critical role in reprogramming and self-renewal of iPSCs. Further, telomerase maintenance of telomeres is necessary for induction of true pluripotency while the alternative pathway of elongation and maintenance by recombination is also required, but not sufficient. Together, several aspects of telomere biology may account for the variable telomere dynamics in iPSCs. Notably, the mechanisms employed to maintain telomeres during iPSC reprogramming are very similar to those of embryonic stem cells. These findings may also relate to the cloning field where these mechanisms could be responsible for telomere heterogeneity after nuclear reprogramming by somatic cell nuclear transfer. © 2012 IBCB, SIBS, CAS All rights reserved.

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