LINE-1 RNA causes heterochromatin erosion and is a target for amelioration of senescent phenotypes in progeroid syndromes

by Francesco Della Valle, Pradeep Ready, Mako Yamamoto, Peng Lui, Alfonso Sera-Vila, Dalila BinSadeek, Homing Zhang, Javier Martinez, Leila Abassi, Mirko Celii, Alejandro Ocampo, Estrella Delicado, Arianna Mangiavacchi, Riccardo Aiese Cgliano, Conception Estebban, Steve Horvath, Juan Carlos Belamonte, Valerio Orlando
Year: 2022 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abl6057

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10 Aug 2022
Vol 14, Issue 657


Constitutive heterochromatin is responsible for genome repression of DNA enriched in repetitive sequences, telomeres, and centromeres. During physiological and pathological premature aging, heterochromatin homeostasis is profoundly compromised. Here, we showed that LINE-1 (Long Interspersed Nuclear Element-1; L1) RNA accumulation was an early event in both typical and atypical human progeroid syndromes. L1 RNA negatively regulated the enzymatic activity of the histone-lysine N-methyltransferase SUV39H1 (suppression of variegation 3-9 homolog 1), resulting in heterochromatin loss and onset of senescent phenotypes in vitro. Depletion of L1 RNA in dermal fibroblast cells from patients with different progeroid syndromes using specific antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) restored heterochromatin histone 3 lysine 9 and histone 3 lysine 27 trimethylation marks, reversed DNA methylation age, and counteracted the expression of senescence-associated secretory phenotype genes such as p16p21activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), matrix metallopeptidase 13 (MMP13), interleukin 1a (IL1a), BTG anti-proliferation factor 2 (BTG2), and growth arrest and DNA damage inducible beta (GADD45b). Moreover, systemic delivery of ASOs rescued the histophysiology of tissues and increased the life span of a Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome mouse model. Transcriptional profiling of human and mouse samples after L1 RNA depletion demonstrated that pathways associated with nuclear chromatin organization, cell proliferation, and transcription regulation were enriched. Similarly, pathways associated with aging, inflammatory response, innate immune response, and DNA damage were down-regulated. Our results highlight the role of L1 RNA in heterochromatin homeostasis in progeroid syndromes and identify a possible therapeutic approach to treat premature aging and related syndromes.