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  • An Activity Switch in Human Telomerase Based on RNA Conformation and Shaped by TCAB1. Cell Chen, L., Roake, C. M., Freund, A., Batista, P. J., Tian, S., Yin, Y. A., Gajera, C. R., Lin, S., Lee, B., Pech, M. F., Venteicher, A. S., Das, R., Chang, H. Y., Artandi, S. E. 2018

    Abstract

    Ribonucleoprotein enzymes require dynamic conformations of their RNA constituents for regulated catalysis. Human telomerase employs a non-coding RNA (hTR) with a bipartite arrangement of domains-a template-containing core and a distal three-way junction (CR4/5) that stimulates catalysis through unknown means. Here, we show that telomerase activity unexpectedly depends upon the holoenzyme protein TCAB1, which in turn controls conformation of CR4/5. Cells lacking TCAB1 exhibit a marked reduction in telomerase catalysis without affecting enzyme assembly. Instead, TCAB1 inactivation causes unfolding of CR4/5 helices that are required for catalysis and for association with the telomeraseáreverse-transcriptase (TERT). CR4/5 mutations derived from patients with telomere biology disorders provoke defects in catalysis and TERT binding similar to TCAB1 inactivation. These findings reveal a conformational "activity switch" in human telomerase RNA controlling catalysis and TERT engagement. The identification of two discrete catalytic states for telomerase suggests an intramolecular means for controlling telomerase in cancers and progenitor cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2018.04.039

    View details for PubMedID 29804836

  • Distributed hepatocytes expressing telomerase repopulate the liver in homeostasis and injury. Nature Lin, S., Nascimento, E. M., Gajera, C. R., Chen, L., Neuh÷fer, P., Garbuzov, A., Wang, S., Artandi, S. E. 2018

    Abstract

    Hepatocytes are replenished gradually during homeostasis and robustly after liver injury1, 2. In adults, new hepatocytes originate from the existing hepatocyte pool3-8, but the cellular source of renewing hepatocytes remains unclear. Telomerase is expressed in many stem cell populations, and mutations in telomerase pathway genes have been linked to liver diseases9-11. Here we identify a subset of hepatocytes that expresses high levels of telomerase and show that this hepatocyte subset repopulates the liver during homeostasis and injury. Using lineage tracing from the telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) locus in mice, we demonstrate that rare hepatocytes with high telomerase expression (TERTHighhepatocytes) are distributed throughout the liver lobule. During homeostasis, these cells regenerate hepatocytes in all lobular zones, and both self-renew and differentiate to yield expanding hepatocyte clones that eventually dominate the liver. In response to injury, the repopulating activity of TERTHighhepatocytes is accelerated and their progeny cross zonal boundaries. RNA sequencing shows that metabolic genes are downregulated in TERTHighhepatocytes, indicating that metabolic activity and repopulating activity may be segregated within the hepatocyte lineage. Genetic ablation of TERTHighhepatocytes combined with chemical injury causes a marked increase in stellate cell activation and fibrosis. These results provide support for a 'distributed model' of hepatocyte renewal in which a subset of hepatocytes dispersed throughout the lobule clonally expands to maintain liver mass.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0004-7

    View details for PubMedID 29618815

  • LRP2 in SHH-dependent adult neurogenesis Bunatyan, L., Christ, A., Gajera, C., Hammes-Lewin, A., Willnow, T. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2017: S116
  • Loss of Lrp2 in Zebrafish Disrupts Pronephric Tubular Clearance But Not Forebrain Development DEVELOPMENTAL DYNAMICS Kur, E., Christa, A., Veth, K. N., Gajera, C. R., Andrade-Navarro, M. A., Zhang, J., Willer, J. R., Gregg, R. G., Abdelilah-Seyfried, S., Bachmann, S., Link, B. A., Hammes, A., Willnow, T. E. 2011; 240 (6): 1567-1577

    Abstract

    Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 2 (LRP2) is a multifunctional cell surface receptor conserved from nematodes to humans. In mammals, it acts as regulator of sonic hedgehog and bone morphogenetic protein pathways in patterning of the embryonic forebrain and as a clearance receptor in the adult kidney. Little is known about activities of this LRP in other phyla. Here, we extend the functional elucidation of LRP2 to zebrafish as a model organism of receptor (dys)function. We demonstrate that expression of Lrp2 in embryonic and larval fish recapitulates the patterns seen in mammalian brain and kidney. Furthermore, we studied the consequence of receptor deficiencies in lrp2 and in lrp2b, a homologue unique to fish, using ENU mutagenesis or morpholino knockdown. While receptor-deficient zebrafish suffer from overt renal resorption deficiency, their brain development proceeds normally, suggesting evolutionary conservation of receptor functions in pronephric duct clearance but not in patterning of the teleost forebrain.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dvdy.22624

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291560300025

    View details for PubMedID 21455927

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3278082

  • LRP2 in ependymal cells regulates BMP signaling in the adult neurogenic niche JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE Gajera, C. R., Emich, H., Lioubinski, O., Christ, A., Beckervordersandforth-Bonk, R., Yoshikawa, K., Bachmann, S., Christensen, E., Goetz, M., Kempermann, G., Peterson, A. S., Willnow, T. E., Hammes, A. 2010; 123 (11): 1922?30

    Abstract

    The microenvironment of growth factors in the subependymal zone (SEZ) of the adult brain provides the instructive milieu for neurogenesis to proceed in this germinal niche. In particular, tight regulation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is essential to balance proliferative and non-proliferative cell fate specification. However, the regulatory pathways that control BMP signaling in the SEZ are still poorly defined. We demonstrate that LRP2, a clearance receptor for BMP4 is specifically expressed in ependymal cells of the lateral ventricles in the adult brain. Intriguingly, expression is restricted to the ependyma that faces the stem cell niche. Expression is not seen in ependyma elsewhere in the lateral ventricles or in the dentate gyrus, the second major neurogenic zone of the adult brain. We further show that lack of LRP2 expression in adult mice results in impaired proliferation of neural precursor cells in the SEZ resulting in decreased numbers of neuroblasts reaching the olfactory bulb. Reduced neurogenesis coincides with increased BMP4 expression and enhanced activation of downstream mediators phospho-SMAD1/5/8 and ID3 in the stem cell niche. Our findings suggest a novel mechanism whereby LRP2-mediated catabolism of BMP4 in the ependyma modulates the microenvironment of the SEZ and enables adult neurogenesis to proceed.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.065912

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277862000011

    View details for PubMedID 20460439

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