Interstitial telomeric sequences (ITSs) are stretches of telomeric-like repeats located at internal chromosomal sites. We previously demonstrated that ITSs have been inserted during the repair of DNA double-strand breaks in the course of evolution and that some rodent ITSs, called TERC-ITSs, are flanked by fragments retrotranscribed from the telomerase RNA component (TERC). In this work, we carried out an extensive search of TERC-ITSs in 30 vertebrate genomes and identified 41 such loci in 22 species, including in humans and other primates. The fragment retrotranscribed from the TERC RNA varies in different lineages and its sequence seems to be related to the organization of TERC. Through comparative analysis of TERC-ITSs with orthologous empty loci, we demonstrated that, at each locus, the TERC-like sequence and the ITS have been inserted in one step in the course of evolution. Our findings suggest that telomerase participated in a peculiar pathway of DNA double-strand break repair involving retrotranscription of its RNA component and that this mechanism may be active in all vertebrate species. These results add new evidence to the hypothesis that RNA-templated DNA repair mechanisms are active in vertebrate cells.

Telomeric-Like Repeats Flanked by Sequences Retrotranscribed from the Telomerase RNA Inserted at DNA Double-Strand Break Sites during Vertebrate Genome Evolution

Sola, Lorenzo;Nergadze, Solomon G.;Cappelletti, Eleonora;Piras, Francesca M.;Giulotto, Elena;Santagostino, Marco
2021

Abstract

Interstitial telomeric sequences (ITSs) are stretches of telomeric-like repeats located at internal chromosomal sites. We previously demonstrated that ITSs have been inserted during the repair of DNA double-strand breaks in the course of evolution and that some rodent ITSs, called TERC-ITSs, are flanked by fragments retrotranscribed from the telomerase RNA component (TERC). In this work, we carried out an extensive search of TERC-ITSs in 30 vertebrate genomes and identified 41 such loci in 22 species, including in humans and other primates. The fragment retrotranscribed from the TERC RNA varies in different lineages and its sequence seems to be related to the organization of TERC. Through comparative analysis of TERC-ITSs with orthologous empty loci, we demonstrated that, at each locus, the TERC-like sequence and the ITS have been inserted in one step in the course of evolution. Our findings suggest that telomerase participated in a peculiar pathway of DNA double-strand break repair involving retrotranscription of its RNA component and that this mechanism may be active in all vertebrate species. These results add new evidence to the hypothesis that RNA-templated DNA repair mechanisms are active in vertebrate cells.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1441456
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