Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise. Nature

Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 02/2011; 470(7334):359-65. DOI: 10.1038/nature09787
Source: PubMed


Telomere dysfunction activates p53-mediated cellular growth arrest, senescence and apoptosis to drive progressive atrophy and functional decline in high-turnover tissues. The broader adverse impact of telomere dysfunction across many tissues including more quiescent systems prompted transcriptomic network analyses to identify common mechanisms operative in haematopoietic stem cells, heart and liver. These unbiased studies revealed profound repression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha and beta (PGC-1α and PGC-1β, also known as Ppargc1a and Ppargc1b, respectively) and the downstream network in mice null for either telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) or telomerase RNA component (Terc) genes. Consistent with PGCs as master regulators of mitochondrial physiology and metabolism, telomere dysfunction is associated with impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and function, decreased gluconeogenesis, cardiomyopathy, and increased reactive oxygen species. In the setting of telomere dysfunction, enforced Tert or PGC-1α expression or germline deletion of p53 (also known as Trp53) substantially restores PGC network expression, mitochondrial respiration, cardiac function and gluconeogenesis. We demonstrate that telomere dysfunction activates p53 which in turn binds and represses PGC-1α and PGC-1β promoters, thereby forging a direct link between telomere and mitochondrial biology. We propose that this telomere-p53-PGC axis contributes to organ and metabolic failure and to diminishing organismal fitness in the setting of telomere dysfunction.

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Available from: Giovanni Tonon
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    • "This has recently been elegantly shown for locus coeruleus (LC) neurons, also displaying a high vulnerability to degeneration in PD (Sanchez-Padilla et al., 2014). It is very likely that a similar mechanism is also present in SN DA neurons, thereby contributing to compromised mitochondrial and bioenergetic function (Kelly, 2011; Sahin et al., 2011; Exner et al., 2012), rendering them more vulnerable to PD-trigger factors and degeneration. "
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    ABSTRACT: Dopamine (DA) releasing midbrain neurons are essential for multiple brain functions, such as voluntary movement, working memory, emotion and cognition. DA midbrain neurons within the substantia nigra (SN) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) exhibit a variety of distinct axonal projections and cellular properties, and are differentially affected in diseases like schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson's disease (PD). Apart from having diverse functions in health and disease states, DA midbrain neurons display distinct electrical activity patterns, crucial for DA release. These activity patterns are generated and modulated by specific sets of ion channels. Recently, two ion channels have been identified, not only contributing to these activity patterns and to functional properties of DA midbrain neurons, but also seem to render SN DA neurons particularly vulnerable to degeneration in PD and its animal models: L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) and ATP-sensitive potassium channels (K-ATPs). In this review, we focus on the emerging physiological and pathophysiological roles of these two ion channels (and their complex interplay with other ion channels), particularly in highly vulnerable SN DA neurons, as selective degeneration of these neurons causes the major motor symptoms of PD.
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    • "We have previously found in human fibroblasts, and in a number of other tissues, that high mitochondrial ROS production, high mitochondrial mass and low mitochondrial membrane potential are associated with cell senescence [22]–[26]. While the association of high mitochondrial mass with telomere dysfunction and senescence has been contested [27], increases in ROS and decreases in mitochondrial functionality, typically associated with low mitochondrial membrane potential, have commonly been found in ageing and senescence [28]–[31]. We therefore expected to find robust associations between ROS production and mitochondrial dysfunction with a range of other senescence-associated parameters in the peripheral blood samples from the Newcastle 85+ study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Reliable and valid biomarkers of ageing (BoA) are needed to understand mechanisms, test interventions and predict the timing of adverse health events associated with ageing. Since increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and mitochondrial dysfunction are consequences of cellular senescence and may contribute causally to the ageing of organisms, we focused on these parameters as candidate BoA. Superoxide levels, mitochondrial mass and mitochondrial membrane potential in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and subpopulations (lymphocytes and monocytes) were measured in participants from the Newcastle 85+ study, a population-based study of the very old (aged 85 years and older). The intra- and inter-assay precision expressed as coefficient of variation (CV) for all parameters was acceptable (3% to 12% and 5 to 22% respectively). All parameters were stable in the short-term (1 week interval) in a sample of control individuals in the PBMCs and lymphocyte subpopulation, however they were unstable in the monocyte subpopulation; this rendered monocytes unreliable for further analysis. There was a significant association between superoxide levels and mitochondrial mass (positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.01) and between superoxide levels and mitochondrial membrane potential (negative in PBMCs, p = 0.01; positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.05). There were also significant associations between superoxide levels and mitochondrial parameters with other markers of oxidative stress-induced cellular senescence (p≤0.04), however some were in the opposite direction to expected. No associations were found between the measured parameters and age-related outcomes, including cognitive impairment, disability, co-morbidity and survival - questioning the validity of these parameters as candidate BoA in the very old.
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    • "One possibility comes from the differences in regulation of telomerase expression, limited to dividing cells in plants, but not in mice. We note however, that in the context of our results and those of the mouse study [27], telomerase is not expressed in any cells of the tert mutants. Thus in late generation mutants (G4 in mice and G7 in plants), the analysis is of the consequences of the absence of telomerase, not absence of the enzyme itself. "
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    ABSTRACT: In striking contrast to animals, plants are able to develop and reproduce in the presence of significant levels of genome damage. This is seen clearly in both the viability of plants carrying knockouts for key recombination and DNA repair genes, which are lethal in vertebrates, and in the impact of telomere dysfunction. Telomerase knockout mice show accelerated ageing and severe developmental phenotypes, with effects on both highly proliferative and on more quiescent tissues, while cell death in Arabidopsis tert mutants is mostly restricted to actively dividing meristematic cells. Through phenotypic and whole-transcriptome RNAseq studies, we present here an analysis of the response of Arabidopsis plants to the continued presence of telomere damage. Comparison of second-generation and seventh-generation tert mutant plants has permitted separation of the effects of the absence of the telomerase enzyme and the ensuing chromosome damage. In addition to identifying a large number of genes affected by telomere damage, many of which are of unknown function, the striking conclusion of this study is the clear difference observed at both cellular and transcriptome levels between the ways in which mammals and plants respond to chronic telomeric damage.
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