OPEN Stem cell reports | 7 Feb 2017
RM Marión, I López de Silanes, L Mosteiro, B Gamache, M Abad, C Guerra, D Megías, M Serrano and MA Blasco
Reprogramming of differentiated cells into induced pluripotent stem cells has been recently achieved in vivo in mice. Telomeres are essential for chromosomal stability and determine organismal life span as well as cancer growth. Here, we study whether tissue dedifferentiation induced by in vivo reprogramming involves changes at telomeres. We find telomerase-dependent telomere elongation in the reprogrammed areas. Notably, we found highly upregulated expression of the TRF1 telomere protein in the reprogrammed areas, which was independent of telomere length. Moreover, TRF1 inhibition reduced in vivo reprogramming efficiency. Importantly, we extend the finding of TRF1 upregulation to pathological tissue dedifferentiation associated with neoplasias, in particular during pancreatic acinar-to-ductal metaplasia, a process that involves transdifferentiation of adult acinar cells into ductal-like cells due to K-Ras oncogene expression. These findings place telomeres as important players in cellular plasticity both during in vivo reprogramming and in pathological conditions associated with increased plasticity, such as cancer.
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