PML bodies provide an important platform for the maintenance of telomeric chromatin integrity in embryonic stem cells

Tsz Man (Fiona) Chang, James D McGhie, Foong Lyn Chan, Michelle C Tang, Melissa A Anderson, Jeffrey R Mann, Andy Choo, Lee Wong

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35 Citations (Scopus)


We have previously shown that alpha-thalassemia mental retardation X-linked (ATRX) and histone H3.3 are key regulators of telomeric chromatin in mouse embryonic stem cells. The function of ATRX and H3.3 in the maintenance of telomere chromatin integrity is further demonstrated by recent studies that show the strong association of ATRX/H3.3 mutations with alternative lengthening of telomeres in telomerase-negative human cancer cells. Here, we demonstrate that ATRX and H3.3 co-localize with the telomeric DNA and associated proteins within the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) bodies in mouse ES cells. The assembly of these telomere-associated PML bodies is most prominent at S phase. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of PML expression induces the disassembly of these nuclear bodies and a telomere dysfunction phenotype in mouse ES cells. Loss of function of PML bodies in mouse ES cells also disrupts binding of ATRX/H3.3 and proper establishment of histone methylation pattern at the telomere. Our study demonstrates that PML bodies act as epigenetic regulators by serving as platforms for the assembly of the telomeric chromatin to ensure a faithful inheritance of epigenetic information at the telomere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4447 - 4458
Number of pages12
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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