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Farnesyltransferase inhibitor treatment restores chromosome territory positions and active chromosome dynamics in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome cells

Ishita S Mehta12, Christopher H Eskiw1, Halime D Arican1, Ian R Kill1 and Joanna M Bridger1*

Author affiliations

1 Progeria Research Team, Centre for Cell and Chromosome Biology, Biosciences, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Kingston Lane, Brunel University, West London, UB8 3PH, UK

2 Current address: B-202, Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai-400005, India

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Citation and License

Genome Biology 2011, 12:R74  doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-8-r74

Published: 12 August 2011



Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a premature ageing syndrome that affects children leading to premature death, usually from heart infarction or strokes, making this syndrome similar to normative ageing. HGPS is commonly caused by a mutation in the A-type lamin gene, LMNA (G608G). This leads to the expression of an aberrant truncated lamin A protein, progerin. Progerin cannot be processed as wild-type pre-lamin A and remains farnesylated, leading to its aberrant behavior during interphase and mitosis. Farnesyltransferase inhibitors prevent the accumulation of farnesylated progerin, producing a less toxic protein.


We have found that in proliferating fibroblasts derived from HGPS patients the nuclear location of interphase chromosomes differs from control proliferating cells and mimics that of control quiescent fibroblasts, with smaller chromosomes toward the nuclear interior and larger chromosomes toward the nuclear periphery. For this study we have treated HGPS fibroblasts with farnesyltransferase inhibitors and analyzed the nuclear location of individual chromosome territories. We have found that after exposure to farnesyltransferase inhibitors mis-localized chromosome territories were restored to a nuclear position akin to chromosomes in proliferating control cells. Furthermore, not only has this treatment afforded chromosomes to be repositioned but has also restored the machinery that controls their rapid movement upon serum removal. This machinery contains nuclear myosin 1β, whose distribution is also restored after farnesyltransferase inhibitor treatment of HGPS cells.


This study not only progresses the understanding of genome behavior in HGPS cells but demonstrates that interphase chromosome movement requires processed lamin A.