"Some mutations in Tin2 as well as genetic variants of TRF1 have been described linked to the rare human diseases dyskeratosis congenita and aplastic anaemia. These conditions [31–33] have as hallmarks epithelial abnormalities, such as skin hyperpigmentation, nail dystrophy and oral leukoplakia. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 telomere-binding 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.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2011; 366(1561):76-84. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2010.0291 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prompt and accurate diagnosis is required for optimal treatment and genetic counseling of patients with inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS). However, the diverse clinical picture of these syndromes and their rareness is often associated with diagnostic difficulties. Recently, an improved diagnostic approach is possible by the cloning of many of the causative genes. Fanconi anemia (FA) patients belong to at least 12 complementation groups, of which 11 genes have been cloned. An approach combining an induced chromosomal breakage test, detection of FANCD2-L by Western blot analysis, complementation group analysis, and detailed mutation analysis enables unraveling the causative mutation in the majority of patients. With the use of such strategies, genotype/phenotype correlations in FA are evolving. In dyskeratosis congenita mutations in DCK1, TERC, and TERT genes have been identified, but mutations have been found in less than half of these patients. In patients with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, mutations in the SBDS gene were found in approximately 90% of patients. In Diamond-Blackfan anemia the RSP19 gene is mutated in 20-25% of patients. Heterozygote ELA2 mutations are found in 60-80% of severe congenital neutropenia patients. All patients with congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia have mutations in the thrombopoietin receptor gene c-Mpl.
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