Cell cycle checkpoints and tumor suppressor gene functions appear to be required for the maintenance of a stable genome in proliferating cells. In this study chromosomal destabilization was monitored in relation to telomere structure, lifespan control and G2 checkpoint function. Replicative senescence was inactivated in secondary cultures of human skin fibroblasts by expressing the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6 oncoprotein to inactivate p53. Chromosome aberrations were enumerated during in vitro aging of isogenic control (F5neo) and HPV-16E6-expressing (F5E6) fibroblasts.
Transfection of nearly senesced human fibroblasts with plasmids encoding HPV16 E6 protein or dominant-negative p53 mutants greatly increased their colony-forming ability. Isolated colonies with these plasmids showed extension of lifespan compared to those with a control plasmid. These data demonstrate that p53 plays a major role in senescence in normal human fibroblasts.
Replicative senescence is thought to be a significant barrier to human tumorigenesis, which in human fibroblasts, and many other cell types, can be overcome experimentally by combined loss of function of p53 and Rb 'pathways'. To avoid the confounding pleiotropic effects of HPVE7 frequently used in such studies, here we have employed retroviral vectors over-expressing CDK4 or CDK6 as a more representative model of naturally-occurring mutations targeting the Rb pathway.
The vast majority of breast cancers are carcinomas that arise from mammary epithelial cells (MECs). One of the key early events in tumorigenic transformation is the ability of cells to overcome replicative senescence. However, the precise genetic changes that are responsible for this event in MECs is largely unknown. Here, we report that Bmi-1, originally identified as a c-Myc cooperating oncoprotein, can bypass senescence, extend the replicative life span, and immortalize MECs. Furthermore, Bmi-1 was overexpressed in immortal MECs and several breast cancer cell lines.
Calorie restriction extends lifespan in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals. In yeast, the SIR2 gene mediates the life-extending effects of calorie restriction. Here we show that the mammalian SIR2 orthologue, Sirt1 (sirtuin 1), activates a critical component of calorie restriction in mammals; that is, fat mobilization in white adipocytes. Upon food withdrawal Sirt1 protein binds to and represses genes controlled by the fat regulator PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma), including genes mediating fat storage.
Fetal cardiomyocytes have been proposed as a potential source of cell-based therapy for heart failure. This study examined cellular senescence in cultured human fetal ventricular cardiomyocytes (HFCs). HFCs were isolated and identified by immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR. Cells were found to senesce after 20-25 population doublings, as determined by growth arrest, morphological changes and senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity. Using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay, telomerase activity was undetectable in primary HFCs.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) belonging to the Betapapillomavirus genus have recently been implicated in squamous cell carcinomas of the skin, though the mechanisms by which they initiate carcinogenesis are unclear. We show that human foreskin keratinocytes (HFKs) expressing several betapapillomavirus E6 (beta-E6) proteins display life span extension, but not to the extent seen in HFKs expressing HPV type 16 E6 (16E6). Additionally, we demonstrate that beta-E6 proteins can differentially activate telomerase.
Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is characterized by the triad of reticulate skin pigmentation, nail dystrophy and leukoplakia. Epidermal atrophy, hair growth defects, bone marrow failure and increased risk of cancer are also common in DC patients. DC is caused by mutations in genes encoding for telomerase complex factors. Although there is an association of epidermal abnormalities with DC, epidermal cells from DC donors have not been previously characterized.
Senescence is an irreversible cell-cycle arrest that is elicited by a wide range of factors, including replicative exhaustion. Emerging evidences suggest that cellular senescence contributes to ageing and acts as a tumour suppressor mechanism. To identify novel genes regulating senescence, we performed a loss-of-function screen on normal human diploid fibroblasts. We show that downregulation of the AMPK-related protein kinase 5 (ARK5 or NUAK1) results in extension of the cellular replicative lifespan.
A de novo G608G mutation in LMNA gene leads to Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Mice lacking the prelamin A-processing metalloprotease, Zmpste24, recapitulate many of the progeroid features of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Here we show that A-type lamins interact with SUV39H1, and prelamin A/progerin exhibits enhanced binding capacity to SUV39H1, protecting it from proteasomal degradation and, consequently, increasing H3K9me3 levels. Depletion of Suv39h1 reduces H3K9me3 levels, restores DNA repair capacity and delays senescence in progeroid cells.