Telomeres and Telomerase Group

Madrid, Spain

Telomeres and Telomerase Group

Madrid, Spain
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Lopez-Otin C.,University of Oviedo | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Partridge L.,Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing | Partridge L.,University College London | And 4 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2013

Aging is characterized by a progressive loss of physiological integrity, leading to impaired function and increased vulnerability to death. This deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human pathologies, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Aging research has experienced an unprecedented advance over recent years, particularly with the discovery that the rate of aging is controlled, at least to some extent, by genetic pathways and biochemical processes conserved in evolution. This Review enumerates nine tentative hallmarks that represent common denominators of aging in different organisms, with special emphasis on mammalian aging. These hallmarks are: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. A major challenge is to dissect the interconnectedness between the candidate hallmarks and their relative contributions to aging, with the final goal of identifying pharmaceutical targets to improve human health during aging, with minimal side effects. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Rocheteau P.,Institute Pasteur Paris | Gayraud-Morel B.,Institute Pasteur Paris | Siegl-Cachedenier I.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Tajbakhsh S.,Institute Pasteur Paris
Cell | Year: 2012

Satellite cells are adult skeletal muscle stem cells that are quiescent and constitute a poorly defined heterogeneous population. Using transgenic Tg:Pax7-nGFP mice, we show that Pax7-nGFP Hi cells are less primed for commitment and have a lower metabolic status and delayed first mitosis compared to Pax7-nGFP Lo cells. Pax7-nGFP Hi can give rise to Pax7-nGFP Lo cells after serial transplantations. Proliferating Pax7-nGFP Hi cells exhibit lower metabolic activity, and the majority performs asymmetric DNA segregation during cell division, wherein daughter cells retaining template DNA strands express stem cell markers. Using chromosome orientation-fluorescence in situ hybridization, we demonstrate that all chromatids segregate asymmetrically, whereas Pax7-nGFP Lo cells perform random DNA segregation. Therefore, quiescent Pax7-nGFP Hi cells represent a reversible dormant stem cell state, and during muscle regeneration, Pax7-nGFP Hi cells generate distinct daughter cell fates by asymmetrically segregating template DNA strands to the stem cell. These findings provide major insights into the biology of stem cells that segregate DNA asymmetrically. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Marion R.M.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Current Opinion in Genetics and Development | Year: 2010

Reprogramming of adult differentiated cells to a more pluripotent state has been achieved by various means, including somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and, more recently, by over expression of specific transcription factors to generate the so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Since telomeres play an important role in the maintenance of chromosomal stability associated with continuous cell division, a key question for the quality of the resulting reprogrammed cells was to address whether nuclear reprogramming involves a full rejuvenation of telomeres. Recent work from our group and others demonstrate that telomeres are indeed rejuvenated during nuclear reprogramming. These findings also revealed that the structure of telomeric chromatin is dynamic and controlled by epigenetic programmes, which are reversed by reprogramming. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Martinez P.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Aging Cell | Year: 2010

Mammalian telomeres are formed by tandem repeats of the TTAGGG sequence bound by a specialized six-protein complex known as shelterin, which has fundamental roles in the regulation of telomere length and telomere capping. In the past, the study of mice genetically modified for telomerase components has been instrumental to demonstrate the role of telomere length in cancer and aging. Recent studies using genetically modified mice for shelterin proteins have highlighted an equally important role of telomere-bound proteins in cancer and aging, even in the presence of proficient telomerase activity and normal telomere length. In this review, we will focus on recent findings, suggesting a role of shelterin components in cancer and aging. © 2010 The Authors Aging Cell © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.


Schneider R.P.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Nature communications | Year: 2013

TRF1 is a component of the shelterin complex that protects chromosome ends. TRF1 deficiency leads to early embryonic lethality and to severe organ atrophy when deleted in adult tissues. Here we generate a reporter mouse carrying a knock-in eGFP-TRF1 fusion allele to study the role of TRF1 in stem cell biology and tissue homeostasis. We find that eGFP-TRF1 expression in mice is maximal in known adult stem cell compartments and show that TRF1 ensures their functionality. eGFP-TRF1 is highly expressed in induced pluripotent stem cells, uncoupled from the telomere elongation associated with reprogramming. Selection of eGFP-TRF1-high induced pluripotent stem cells correlates with higher pluripotency as indicated by their ability to form teratomas and chimeras. We further show that TRF1 is necessary for both induction and maintenance of pluripotency, and that TRF1 is a direct transcriptional target of Oct3/4.


de Jesus B.B.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Circulation research | Year: 2012

A major goal in cancer and aging research is to discriminate the biochemical modifications that happen locally that could account for the healthiness or malignancy of tissues. Senescence is one general antiproliferative cellular process that acts as a strong barrier for cancer progression, playing a crucial role in aging. Here, we focus on the current methods to assess cellular senescence, discriminating the advantages and disadvantages of several senescence biomarkers.


de Jesus B.B.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Current Opinion in Cell Biology | Year: 2012

The progressive increase in the elderly population worldwide has resulted in higher numbers of individuals affected by age-associated diseases, such as neurodegenerative and heart diseases, metabolic impairment, or cancer, with the subsequent burden for national health systems. Therapeutic interventions aimed to increase the quality of life at advanced age are visualized as important demands for the future, both at the level of individuals and society. Novel advances in telomerase function from several independent laboratories have resulted in potential new therapeutic strategies which appear as promising new venues to prevent cellular and tissue dysfunction and organismal decline, thereby increasing the so-called " health span" Here, we analyze these recent advances. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Bernardes de Jesus B.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Trends in Genetics | Year: 2013

Although cancer and aging have been studied as independent diseases, mounting evidence suggests that cancer is an aging-associated disease and that cancer and aging share many molecular pathways. In particular, recent studies validated telomerase activation as a potential therapeutic target for age-related diseases; in addition, abnormal telomerase expression and telomerase mutations have been associated with many different types of human tumor. Here, we revisit the connection between telomerase and cancer and aging in light of recent findings supporting a role for telomerase not only in telomere elongation, but also in metabolic fitness and Wnt activation. Understanding the physiological impact of telomerase regulation is fundamental given the therapeutic strategies that are being developed that involve telomerase modulation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Lopez de Silanes I.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Nature communications | Year: 2010

Telomeres are transcribed from the telomeric C-rich strand, giving rise to UUAGGG repeat-containing telomeric transcripts or TERRA, which are novel structural components of telomeres. TERRA abundance is highly dependent on developmental status (including nuclear reprogramming), telomere length, cellular stresses, tumour stage and chromatin structure. However, the molecular mechanisms and factors controlling TERRA levels are still largely unknown. In this study, we identify a set of RNA-binding proteins, which endogenously bind and regulate TERRA in the context of primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The identification was carried out by biotin pull-down assays followed by LC-MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Different members of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein family are among the ribonucleoprotein family that bind more abundantly to TERRA. Downregulation of TERRA-bound RBPs by small interfering RNA further shows that they can impact on TERRA abundance, their location and telomere lengthening. These findings anticipate an impact of TERRA-associated RBPs on telomere biology and telomeres diseases, such as cancer and aging.


Donate L.E.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group | Blasco M.A.,Telomeres and Telomerase Group
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Telomeres protect the chromosome ends from unscheduled DNA repair and degradation. Telomeres are heterochromatic domains composed of repetitive DNA (TTAGGG repeats) bound to an array of specialized proteins. The length of telomere repeats and the integrity of telomerebinding proteins are both important for telomere protection. Furthermore, telomere length and integrity are regulated by a number of epigenetic modifications, thus pointing to higher order control of telomere function. In this regard, we have recently discovered that telomeres are transcribed generating long, non-coding RNAs, which remain associated with the telomeric chromatin and are likely to have important roles in telomere regulation. In the past, we showed that telomere length and the catalytic component of telomerase, Tert, are critical determinants for the mobilization of stem cells. These effects of telomerase and telomere length on stem cell behaviour anticipate the premature ageing and cancer phenotypes of telomerase mutant mice. Recently, we have demonstrated the anti-ageing activity of telomerase by forcing telomerase expression in mice with augmented cancer resistance. Shelterin is the major protein complex bound to mammalian telomeres; however, its potential relevance for cancer and ageing remained unaddressed to date. To this end, we have generated mice conditionally deleted for the shelterin proteins TRF1, TPP1 and Rap1. The study of these mice demonstrates that telomere dysfunction, even if telomeres are of a normal length, is sufficient to produce premature tissue degeneration, acquisition of chromosomal aberrations and initiation of neoplastic lesions. These new mouse models, together with the telomerase-deficient mouse model, are valuable tools for understanding human pathologies produced by telomere dysfunction. © 2011 The Royal Society.

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