Importance of TRF1 for functional telomere structure

J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 9;279(2):1442-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M309138200. Epub 2003 Oct 14.


Telomeres are comprised of telomeric DNA sequences and associated binding molecules. Their structure functions to protect the ends of linear chromosomes and ensure chromosomal stability. One of the mammalian telomere-binding factors, TRF1, localizes telomeres by binding to double-stranded telomeric DNA arrays. Because the overexpression of wild-type and dominant-negative TRF1 induces progressive telomere shortening and elongation in human cells, respectively, a proposed major role of TRF1 is that of a negative regulator of telomere length. Here we report another crucial function of TRF1 in telomeres. In conditional mouse TRF1 null mutant embryonic stem cells, TRF1 deletion induced growth defect and chromosomal instability. Although no clear telomere shortening or elongation was observed in short term cultured TRF1-deficient cells, abnormal telomere signals were observed, and TRF1-interacting telomere-binding factor, TIN2, lost telomeric association. Furthermore, another double-stranded telomeric DNA-binding factor, TRF2, also showed decreased telomeric association. Importantly, end-to-end fusions with detectable telomere signals at fusion points accumulated in TRF1-deficient cells. These results strongly suggest that TRF1 interacts with other telomere-binding molecules and integrates into the functional telomere structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Deletion
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Binding
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • Telomere / ultrastructure
  • Telomeric Repeat Binding Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Telomeric Repeat Binding Protein 1 / physiology*
  • Transgenes


  • Chromatin
  • Telomeric Repeat Binding Protein 1
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB109563