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R-loops and regulatory changes in chronologically ageing fission yeast cells drive non-random patterns of genome rearrangements

Ellis, DA; Reyes-Martín, F; Rodríguez-López, M; Cotobal, C; Sun, X-M; Saintain, Q; Jeffares, DC; ... Bähler, J; + view all (2021) R-loops and regulatory changes in chronologically ageing fission yeast cells drive non-random patterns of genome rearrangements. PLOS Genetics , 17 (8) , Article e1009784. 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009784. Green open access

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Abstract

Aberrant repair of DNA double-strand breaks can recombine distant chromosomal breakpoints. Chromosomal rearrangements compromise genome function and are a hallmark of ageing. Rearrangements are challenging to detect in non-dividing cell populations, because they reflect individually rare, heterogeneous events. The genomic distribution of de novo rearrangements in non-dividing cells, and their dynamics during ageing, remain therefore poorly characterized. Studies of genomic instability during ageing have focussed on mitochondrial DNA, small genetic variants, or proliferating cells. To characterize genome rearrangements during cellular ageing in non-dividing cells, we interrogated a single diagnostic measure, DNA breakpoint junctions, using Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system. Aberrant DNA junctions that accumulated with age were associated with microhomology sequences and R-loops. Global hotspots for age-associated breakpoint formation were evident near telomeric genes and linked to remote breakpoints elsewhere in the genome, including the mitochondrial chromosome. Formation of breakpoint junctions at global hotspots was inhibited by the Sir2 histone deacetylase and might be triggered by an age-dependent de-repression of chromatin silencing. An unexpected mechanism of genomic instability may cause more local hotspots: age-associated reduction in an RNA-binding protein triggering R-loops at target loci. This result suggests that biological processes other than transcription or replication can drive genome rearrangements. Notably, we detected similar signatures of genome rearrangements that accumulated in old brain cells of humans. These findings provide insights into the unique patterns and possible mechanisms of genome rearrangements in non-dividing cells, which can be promoted by ageing-related changes in gene-regulatory proteins.

Type: Article
Title: R-loops and regulatory changes in chronologically ageing fission yeast cells drive non-random patterns of genome rearrangements
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009784
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009784
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Ellis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Cancer Bio
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133991
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