Coordinate regulation between expression levels of telomere-binding proteins and telomere length in breast carcinomas

Kimberly S. Butler, William C. Hines, Christopher M. Heaphy, Jeffrey K. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Telomere dysregulation occurs in both the in situ and invasive stages of many carcinomas, including breast. Knockout experiments have identified several telomere-associated proteins required for proper telomere function and maintenance, including telomere repeat-binding factor 1 and 2 (TRF1 and TRF2), protection of telomeres (POT1), and TRF1-interacting nuclear factor 2 (TIN2). Using telomere content assays and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we examined the relationship between telomere length and the mRNA levels of telomere-associated proteins in breast tumors. The levels of TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 mRNA, but not telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) RNA, are inversely correlated with telomere content in breast tumors. Significant associations were identified between the mRNA levels of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1; however, there were no significant associations with the mRNA levels of TRF2 or TERT. These associations suggest that a complex transcriptional program coordinately regulates the expression of these mRNAs. We examined the promoter regions of the telomere-associated proteins to identify transcription factors consistent with the observed patterns of presumed coordinate expression. We demonstrated in human breast cancer cell lines that expressions of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by dexamethasone, suggesting activation of the glucocorticoid receptor, whereas TERT, TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), suggesting activation of the nuclear factor kappa B transcription factor. These findings link telomere content in breast tumors to the coordinate expression of several telomere-associated proteins previously shown to be negative regulators of telomere length in cell lines. The results further suggest a possible link between the expressions of the telomere-associated proteins and mediators of stress and inflammation. Telomere content assays and quantitative RT-PCR demonstrate that the levels of TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 mRNA, but not telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) RNA, are inversely correlated with telomere content in breast tumors. Within human breast cancer cell lines, expressions of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by dexamethasone, suggesting activation of the glucocorticoid receptor, whereas TERT, TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by TNF-α, suggesting activation of the NFκB transcription factor. These findings link telomere content in breast tumors to the expression of several telomere-associated proteins previously shown to be negative regulators of telomere length in cell lines and suggest a link between the expressions of the telomere-associated proteins and mediators of stress and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalCancer medicine
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Telomere maintenance
  • Telomere-binding proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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