Research Papers:

ERK1/2/MAPK pathway-dependent regulation of the telomeric factor TRF2

Vincent Picco, Isabelle Coste, Marie-Josèphe Giraud-Panis, Toufic Renno, Eric Gilson and Gilles Pagès _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:46615-46627. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10316

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Vincent Picco1, Isabelle Coste2, Marie-Josèphe Giraud-Panis3, Toufic Renno2, Eric Gilson3,4, Gilles Pagès3

1Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Biomedical Department, MC-98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco

2Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Lyon (CRCL), INSERM U1052-CNRS UMR5286, Université de Lyon, Centre Léon Bérard, 69008 Lyon, France

3University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis, Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, Nice (IRCAN), CNRS UMR7284/INSERM U1081, Medical School, 06107 Nice, France

4Department of Medical Genetics, Archet 2 Hospital, CHU of Nice, 06200 Nice, France

Correspondence to:

Gilles Pagès, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer, telomere, MAP kinases, phosphorylation, DNA damage

Received: March 01, 2016    Accepted: May 23, 2016    Published: June 29, 2016


Telomere stability is a hallmark of immortalized cells, including cancer cells. While the telomere length is maintained in most cases by the telomerase, the activity of a protein complex called Shelterin is required to protect telomeres against unsuitable activation of the DNA damage response pathway. Within this complex, telomeric repeat binding factor 2 (TRF2) plays an essential role by blocking the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated protein (ATM) signaling pathway at telomeres and preventing chromosome end fusion. We showed that TRF2 was phosphorylated in vitro and in vivo on serine 323 by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) in both normal and cancer cells. Moreover, TRF2 and activated ERK1/2 unexpectedly interacted in the cytoplasm of tumor cells and human tumor tissues. The expression of non-phosphorylatable forms of TRF2 in melanoma cells induced the DNA damage response, leading to growth arrest and tumor reversion. These findings revealed that the telomere stability is under direct control of one of the major pro-oncogenic signaling pathways (RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK) via TRF2 phosphorylation.

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