Identification and characterisation of telomere regulatory and signalling pathways after induction of telomere dysfunction

Revie, John (2016) Identification and characterisation of telomere regulatory and signalling pathways after induction of telomere dysfunction. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes which cap the ends of eukaryotic linear chromosomes. In normal somatic cells telomeres shorten and become dysfunctional during ageing due to the DNA end replication problem. This leads to activation of signalling pathways that lead to cellular senescence and apoptosis. However, cancer cells typically bypass this barrier to immortalisation in order to proliferate indefinitely. Therefore enhancing our understanding of telomere dysfunction and pathways involved in regulation of the process is essential. However, the pathways involved are highly complex and involve interaction between a wide range of biological processes. Therefore understanding how telomerase dysfunction is regulated is a challenging task and requires a systems biology approach. In this study I have developed a novel methodology for visualisation and analysis of gene lists focusing on the network level rather than individual or small lists of genes. Application of this methodology to an expression data set and a gene methylation data set allowed me to enhance my understanding of the biology underlying a senescence inducing drug and the process of immortalisation respectively. I then used the methodology to compare the effect of genetic background on induction of telomere uncapping. Telomere uncapping was induced in HCT116 WT, p21-/- and p53-/- cells using a viral vector expressing a mutant variant of hTR, the telomerase RNA template. p21-/- cells showed enhanced sensitivity to telomere uncapping. Analysis of a candidate pathway, Mismatch Repair, revealed a role for the process in response to telomere uncapping and that induction of the pathway was p21 dependent. The methodology was then applied to analysis of the telomerase inhibitor GRN163L and synergistic effects of hypoglycaemia with this drug. HCT116 cells were resistant to GRN163L treatment. However, under hypoglycaemic conditions the dose required for ablation of telomerase activity was reduced significantly and telomere shortening was enhanced. Overall this new methodology has allowed our group and collaborators to identify new biology and improve our understanding of processes regulating telomere dysfunction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Telomere, telomerase, cancer.
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences > Translational Research Centre
Funder's Name: Cancer Research UK (CAN-RES-UK)
Supervisor's Name: Keith, Professor W. Nicol
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr John Revie
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7358
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2016 10:28
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2020 18:55

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