Telomere-binding proteins constituting the shelterin complex have been studied primarily for telomeric functions. However, mounting evidence shows non-telomeric binding and gene regulation by shelterin factors. This raises a key question—do telomeres impact binding of shelterin proteins at distal non-telomeric sites? Here we show that binding of the telomere-repeat-binding-factor-2 (TRF2) at promoters ~60 Mb from telomeres depends on telomere length in human cells. Promoter TRF2 occupancy was depleted in cells with elongated telomeres resulting in altered TRF2-mediated transcription of distal genes. In addition, histone modifications—activation (H3K4me1 and H3K4me3) as well as silencing marks (H3K27me3)—at distal promoters were telomere length-dependent. These demonstrate that transcription, and the epigenetic state, of telomere-distal promoters can be influenced by telomere length. Molecular links between telomeres and the extra-telomeric genome, emerging from findings here, might have important implications in telomere-related physiology, particularly ageing and cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research