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PLoS Genet. 2013;9(9):e1003721. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003721. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Environmental stresses disrupt telomere length homeostasis.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel ; Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel ; Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

Telomeres protect the chromosome ends from degradation and play crucial roles in cellular aging and disease. Recent studies have additionally found a correlation between psychological stress, telomere length, and health outcome in humans. However, studies have not yet explored the causal relationship between stress and telomere length, or the molecular mechanisms underlying that relationship. Using yeast as a model organism, we show that stresses may have very different outcomes: alcohol and acetic acid elongate telomeres, whereas caffeine and high temperatures shorten telomeres. Additional treatments, such as oxidative stress, show no effect. By combining genome-wide expression measurements with a systematic genetic screen, we identify the Rap1/Rif1 pathway as the central mediator of the telomeric response to environmental signals. These results demonstrate that telomere length can be manipulated, and that a carefully regulated homeostasis may become markedly deregulated in opposing directions in response to different environmental cues.

PMID:
24039592
PMCID:
PMC3764183
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1003721
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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