© 2014 Lisaingo et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).
Telomere associations have been observed during key cellular processes such as mitosis, meiosis, and carcinogenesis and must be resolved before cell division to prevent genome instability. Here we establish that telomeric repeat-binding factor 1 (TRF1), a core component of the telomere protein complex, is a mediator of telomere associations in mammalian cells. Using live-cell imaging, we show that expression of TRF1 or yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-TRF1 fusion protein above endogenous levels prevents proper telomere resolution during mitosis. TRF1 overexpression results in telomere anaphase bridges and aggregates containing TRF1 protein and telomeric DNA. Site-specific protein cleavage of YFP-TRF1 by tobacco etch virus protease resolves telomere aggregates, indicating that telomere associations are mediated by TRF1. This study provides novel insight into the formation and resolution of telomere associations.