Multiscale in situ analysis of the role of dyskerin in lung cancer cells
Dyskerin is one of the three subunits of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex. Very little is known about the role of dyskerin in the biology of the telomeres in cancer cells. In this study, we use a quantitative, multiscale 3D image-based in situ method and several molecular techniques to show that dyskerin is overexpressed in lung cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we show that dyskerin expression correlates with telomere length both at the cell population level--cells with higher dyskerin expression have short telomeres--and at the single cell level--the shortest telomeres of the cell are spatially associated with areas of concentration of dyskerin proteins. Using this in vitro model, we also show that exogenous increase in dyskerin expression confers resistance to telomere shortening caused by a telomerase inactivating drug. Finally, we show that resistance is achieved by the recovery of telomerase activity associated with dyskerin. In summary, using a novel multiscale image-based in situ method, we show that, in lung cancer cell lines, dyskerin responds to continuous telomere attrition by increasing the telomerase RNP activity, which in turn provides resistance to telomere shortening.