Publication — IRIC
Aberrant expression and localization of the RAP1 shelterin protein contribute to age-related phenotypes.
Short telomeres induce a DNA damage response (DDR) that evokes apoptosis and senescence in human cells. An extant question is the contribution of telomere dysfunction-induced DDR to the phenotypes observed in aging and telomere biology disorders. One candidate is RAP1, a telomere-associated protein that also controls transcription at extratelomeric regions. To distinguish these roles, we generated a knockin mouse carrying a mutated Rap1, which was incapable of binding telomeres and did not result in eroded telomeres or a DDR. Primary Rap1 knockin embryonic fibroblasts showed decreased RAP1 expression and re-localization away from telomeres, with an increased cytosolic distribution akin to that observed in human fibroblasts undergoing telomere erosion. Rap1 knockin mice were viable, but exhibited transcriptomic alterations, proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine signaling, reduced lifespan, and decreased healthspan with increased body weight/fasting blood glucose levels, spontaneous tumor incidence, and behavioral deficits. Taken together, our data present mechanisms distinct from telomere-induced DDR that underlie age-related phenotypes.