ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-180324-8
The age of heterozygous telomerase mutant parents influences the adult phenotype of their offspring irrespective of genotype in zebrafish.
Scahill, C.M., Digby, Z., Sealy, I.M., White, R.J., Collins, J.E., Busch-Nentwich, E.M.
Background Mutations in proteins involved in telomere maintenance lead to a range of human diseases, including dyskeratosis congenita, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cancer. Telomerase functions to add telomeric repeats back onto the ends of chromosomes, however non-canonical roles of components of telomerase have recently been suggested.
Methods Here we use a zebrafish telomerase mutant which harbours a nonsense mutation in tert to investigate the adult phenotypes of fish derived from heterozygous parents of different ages. Furthermore we use whole genome sequencing data to estimate average telomere lengths.
Results We show that homozygous offspring from older heterozygotes exhibit signs of body wasting at a younger age than those of younger parents, and that offspring of older heterozygous parents weigh less irrespective of genotype. We also demonstrate that tert homozygous mutant fish have a male sex bias, and that clutches from older parents also have a male sex bias in the heterozygous and wild-type populations. Telomere length analysis reveals that the telomeres of younger heterozygous parents are shorter than those of older heterozygous parents.
Conclusions These data indicate that the phenotypes observed in offspring from older parents cannot be explained by telomere length. Instead we propose that Tert functions outside of telomere length maintenance in an age-dependent manner to influence the adult phenotypes of the next generation.