A quantitative telomeric chromatin isolation protocol identifies different telomeric states

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2848. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3848.


Telomere composition changes during tumourigenesis, aging and in telomere syndromes in a poorly defined manner. Here we develop a quantitative telomeric chromatin isolation protocol (QTIP) for human cells, in which chromatin is cross-linked, immunopurified and analysed by mass spectrometry. QTIP involves stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) to compare and identify quantitative differences in telomere protein composition of cells from various states. With QTIP, we specifically enrich telomeric DNA and all shelterin components. We validate the method characterizing changes at dysfunctional telomeres, and identify and validate known, as well as novel telomere-associated polypeptides including all THO subunits, SMCHD1 and LRIF1. We apply QTIP to long and short telomeres and detect increased density of SMCHD1 and LRIF1 and increased association of the shelterins TRF1, TIN2, TPP1 and POT1 with long telomeres. Our results validate QTIP to study telomeric states during normal development and in disease.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biochemistry / methods*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Heterochromatin / chemistry
  • Heterochromatin / isolation & purification*
  • Heterochromatin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Telomere / chemistry*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere Shortening
  • Tripeptidyl-Peptidase 1


  • Heterochromatin
  • Proteins
  • Tripeptidyl-Peptidase 1
  • DNA
  • TPP1 protein, human