TERT distal promoter GC islands are critical for telomerase and together with DNMT3B silencing may serve as a senescence-inducing agent in gliomas

Date
2022-08-23
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Source Title
Journal of Neurogenetics
Print ISSN
Electronic ISSN
1563-5260
Publisher
Taylor & Francis Inc.
Volume
36
Issue
4
Pages
89 - 97
Language
English
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Abstract

Telomerase is reactivated in the majority of cancers. For instance, in gliomas, it is common that the TERT promoter is mutated. Research on telomere promoter GC islands have been focused primarily on proximal TERT promoter but little is known about the distal promoter. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the proximal and distal TERT promoter, in terms of DNA methylation. We did bisulfite sequencing in zebrafish tissue samples for the distal tert promoter. In the zebrafish brain tissues, we identified a hypomethylation site in the tert promoter, and found that this hypomethylation was associated with aging and shortened telomeres. Through site directed mutagenesis in glioma cell lines, we changed 10 GC spots individually, cloned into a reporter vector, and measured promoter activity. Finally, we silenced DNMT3B and measured telomerase activity along with vidaza and adriamycin treatments. Site directed mutagenesis of glioma cell lines revealed that each of the 10 GC spots are critical for telomerase activity. Changing GC to AT abolished promoter activity in all spots when transfected into glioma cell lines. Then, through silencing of DNMT3B, we observed a reduction in hTERT expression levels, while hTR remained the same, and a major increase in senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity. Finally, we propose a model regarding the efficacy of two chemotherapeutic drugs, adriamycin and azacytidine, on gliomas. Here, we show that distal TERT promoter is critical; changing even one GC to AT abolishes TERT promoter activity. DNMT3B, a de novo methyltransferase, together with GC islands in distal TERT promoter plays an important role in regulation of telomerase expression and senescence.

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