Infection of normal human diploid fibroblasts (HF) with the DNA tumor virus simian virus 40 (SV) leads to an extension of lifespan and concomitant increase in the levels of the viral large tumor antigen (T antigen) and the cellular protein p53. The intracellular localization of T antigen and p53 was mostly nuclear in both SVpre-crisis and SVpost-crisis cells, however certain population doubling (PD) of the SVpre-crisis cells exhibited some cytoplasmic staining. The DNA content of SVpre-crisis cells shifted to tetraploidy and the SVpost-crisis cells were near-tetraploid.
Cellular senescence is a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest in which normal cells at the end of their lifespan fail to enter into DNA synthesis upon serum or growth factor stimulation. We examined whether proteins required for G1/S cell cycle progression were irreversibly down-regulated in senescent human fibroblasts. Both the 44- and 42-kDa forms of the MAP-kinase protein were expressed at similar levels in young and senescent cells.
Normal human breast epithelial cells were transfected with expression vectors containing the p53 gene mutated at either codon 143, 175, 248 or 273, or by infection with a recombinant retroviral vector containing the p53 gene mutated at codons 143, 175, 248, or 273. The breast epithelial cells were monitored for extension of in vitro lifespan and immortalization. Expression of some, but not all, p53 mutants resulted in an extension of in vitro lifespan.
This study addresses the question of whether loss of p16INK4 expression contributes to the immortalization of human cells. In vitro immortalization usually proceeds through two phases. In the first phase (lifespan extension), cells continue proliferating and their telomeres continue shortening beyond the point at which normal cells become senescent. In the second phase (immortalization), the cells activate a telomere maintenance mechanism and acquire an unlimited proliferative potential.
Telomere loss has been proposed as a mechanism for counting cell divisions during aging in normal somatic cells. How such a mitotic clock initiates the intracellular signalling events that culminate in G1 cell cycle arrest and senescence to restrict the lifespan of normal human cells is not known. We investigated the possibility that critically short telomere length activates a DNA damage response pathway involving p53 and p21(WAF1) in aging cells.
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.
SV40 infection of human cells results in both transformation and lytic infection. We have used origin-defective viral mutants which are unable to replicate in permissive cells to help analysis of transformation. Expression of large T antigen (T ag) and small t antigen results in the altered growth phenotypes characteristic of transformation in other species. Human diploid fibroblasts (HF) have a limited lifespan and undergo senescence; T ag results in extension of lifespan but only in rare cases are the cells capable of continuous growth and are immortal.
Normal human fibroblasts in culture have a limited lifespan, ending in replicative senescence. Introduction of SV40 sequences encoding large T antigen and small t antigen into pre-senescent cells results in an extension of lifespan for an additional 20-30 population doublings.
The yeast Sir2 protein mediates chromatin silencing through an intrinsic NAD-dependent histone deacetylase activity. Sir2 is a conserved protein and was recently shown to regulate lifespan extension both in budding yeast and worms. Here, we show that SIRT1, the human Sir2 homolog, is recruited to the promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) nuclear bodies of mammalian cells upon overexpression of either PML or oncogenic Ras (Ha-rasV12). SIRT1 binds and deacetylates p53, a component of PML nuclear bodies, and it can repress p53-mediated transactivation.