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Replication Stress At Telomeric And Mitochondrial DNA: Common Origins And Consequences On Ageing

Pauline Billard, Delphine A Poncet

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Senescence is defined as a stress-induced durable cell cycle arrest. We herein revisit the origin of two of these stresses, namely mitochondrial metabolic compromise, associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and replicative senescence, activated by extreme telomere shortening. We discuss how replication stress-induced DNA damage of telomeric DNA (telDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be considered a common origin of senescence in vitro, with consequences on ageing in vivo. Unexpectedly, mtDNA and telDNA share common features indicative of a high degree of replicative stress, such as G-quadruplexes, D-loops, RNA:DNA heteroduplexes, epigenetic marks, or supercoiling. To avoid these stresses, both compartments use similar enzymatic strategies involving, for instance, endonucleases, topoisomerases, helicases, or primases. Surprisingly, many of these replication helpers are active at both telDNA and mtDNA (e.g., RNAse H1, FEN1, DNA2, RecQ helicases, Top2α, Top2β, TOP3A, DNMT1/3a/3b, SIRT1). In addition, specialized telomeric proteins, such as TERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase) and TERC (telomerase RNA component), or TIN2 (shelterin complex), shuttle from telomeres to mitochondria, and, by doing so, modulate mitochondrial metabolism and the production of ROS, in a feedback manner. Hence, mitochondria and telomeres use common weapons and cooperate to resist/prevent replication stresses, otherwise producing common consequences, namely senescence and ageing.