DNA damaging agents and p53 do not cause senescence in quiescent cells, while consecutive re-activation of mTOR is associated with conversion to senescence.
ABSTRACT: When the cell cycle is arrested, growth-promoting pathways such as mTOR (Target of Rapamycin) drive cellular senescence, characterized by cellular hyper-activation, hypertrophy and permanent loss of the proliferative potential. While arresting cell cycle, p53 (under certain conditions) can inhibit the mTOR pathway. Senescence occurs when p53 fails to inhibit mTOR. Low concentrations of DNA-damaging drugs induce p53 at levels that do not inhibit mTOR, thus causing senescence. In quiescence caused by serum starvation, mTOR is deactivated. This predicts that induction of p53 will not cause senescence in such quiescent cells. Here we tested this prediction. In proliferating normal cells, etoposide caused senescence (cells could not resume proliferation after removal of etoposide). Serum starvation prevented induction of senescence, but not of p53, by etoposide. When etoposide was removed, such cells resumed proliferation upon addition of serum. Also, doxorubicin did not cause senescent morphology in the absence of serum. Re-addition of serum caused mTOR-dependent senescence in the presence of etoposide or doxorubicin. Also, serum-starvation prevented senescent morphology caused by nutlin-3a in MCF-7 and Mel-10 cells. We conclude that induction of p53 does not activate the senescence program in quiescent cells. In cells with induced p53, re-activation of mTOR by serum stimulation causes senescence, as an equivalent of cellular growth.
Project description:Unlike reversible quiescence, cellular senescence is characterized by a large flat cell morphology, ?-gal staining and irreversible loss of regenerative (i.e., replicative) potential. Conversion from proliferative arrest to irreversible senescence, a process named geroconversion, is driven in part by growth-promoting pathways such as mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). During cell cycle arrest, mTOR converts reversible arrest into senescence. Inhibitors of mTOR can suppress geroconversion, maintaining quiescence instead. It was shown that hypoxia inhibits mTOR. Therefore, we suggest that hypoxia may suppress geroconversion. Here we tested this hypothesis. In HT-p21-9 cells, expression of inducible p21 caused cell cycle arrest without inhibiting mTOR, leading to senescence. Hypoxia did not prevent p21 induction and proliferative arrest, but instead inhibited the mTOR pathway and geroconversion. Exposure to hypoxia during p21 induction prevented senescent morphology and loss of regenerative potential, thus maintaining reversible quiescence so cells could restart proliferation after switching p21 off. Suppression of geroconversion was p53- and HIF-1-independent, as hypoxia also suppressed geroconversion in cells lacking functional p53 and HIF-1?. Also, in normal fibroblasts and retinal cells, hypoxia inhibited the mTOR pathway and suppressed senescence caused by etoposide without affecting DNA damage response, p53/p21 induction and cell cycle arrest. Also hypoxia suppressed geroconversion in cells treated with nutlin-3a, a nongenotoxic inducer of p53, in cell lines susceptible to nutlin-3a-induced senescence (MEL-10, A172, and NKE). Thus, in normal and cancer cell lines, hypoxia suppresses geroconversion caused by diverse stimuli. Physiological and clinical implications of the present findings are discussed.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Depending on cellular context, p53-inducing agents (such as nutlin-3a) cause different outcomes including reversible quiescence and irreversible senescence. Inhibition of mTOR shifts the balance from senescence to quiescence. In cell lines with incomplete responses to p53, this shift may be difficult to document because of a high proportion of proliferating cells contaminating arrested (quiescent and senescent) cells. This problem also complicates the study of senescence caused by minimal levels of p21 that are capable to arrest a few cells.<h4>Methodology</h4>During induction of senescence by low levels of endogenous p53 and ectopic p21, cells were co-treated with nocodazole, which eliminated proliferating cells. As a result, only senescent and quiescent cells remained.<h4>Results and discussion</h4>This approach revealed that rapamycin efficiently converted nutlin-induced-senescence into quiescence. In the presence of rapamycin, nutlin-arrested MCF-7 cells retained the proliferative potential and small/lean morphology. Using this approach, we also unmasked senescence in cells arrested by low levels of ectopic p21, capable to arrest only a small proportion of HT1080-p21-9 cells. When p21 did cause arrest, mTOR caused senescent phenotype. Rapamycin and high concentrations of nutlin-3a, which inhibit the mTOR pathway in these particular cells, suppressed senescence, ensuring quiescence instead. Thus, p21 causes senescence passively, just by causing arrest, while still active mTOR drives senescent phenotype.
Project description:Primary rodent cells undergo replicative senescence, independent from telomere shortening. We have recently shown that treatment with rapamycin during passages 3-7 suppressed replicative senescence in rat embryonic fibroblasts (REFs), which otherwise occurred by 10-14 passages. Here, we further investigated rapamycin-primed cells for an extended number of passages. Rapamycin-primed cells continued to proliferate without accumulation of senescent markers. Importantly, these cells retained the ability to undergo serum starvation- and etoposide-induced cell cycle arrest. The p53/p21 pathway was functional. This indicates that rapamycin did not cause either transformation or loss of cell cycle checkpoints. We found that rapamycin activated transcription of pluripotent genes, oct-4, sox-2, nanog, as well as further upregulated telomerase (tert) gene. The rapamycin-derived cells have mostly non-rearranged, near-normal karyotype. Still, when cultivated for a higher number of passages, these cells acquired a chromosomal marker within the chromosome 3. We conclude that suppression mTORC1 activity may prevent replicative senescence without transformation of rodent cells.
Project description:The tumor suppressor p53 is a canonical inducer of cellular senescence (irreversible loss of proliferative potential and senescent morphology). p53 can also cause reversible arrest without senescent morphology, which has usually been interpreted as failure of p53 to induce senescence. Here we demonstrate that p53-induced quiescence actually results from suppression of senescence by p53. In previous studies, suppression of senescence by p53 was masked by p53-induced cell cycle arrest. Here, we separated these two activities by inducing senescence through overexpression of p21 and then testing the effect of p53 on senescence. We found that in p21-arrested cells, p53 converted senescence into quiescence. Suppression of senescence by p53 required its transactivation function. Like rapamycin, which is known to suppress senescence, p53 inhibited the mTOR pathway. We suggest that, while inducing cell cycle arrest, p53 may simultaneously suppress the senescence program, thus causing quiescence and that suppression of senescence and induction of cell cycle arrest are distinct functions of p53. Thus, in spite of its ability to induce cell cycle arrest, p53 can act as a suppressor of cellular senescence.
Project description:DNA-damaging agents can induce premature senescence in cancer cells, which contributes to the static effects of cancer. However, senescent cancer cells may re-enter the cell cycle and lead to tumor relapse. Understanding the mechanisms that control the viability of senescent cells may be helpful in eliminating these cells before they can regrow. Treating human squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells with the anti-cancer compounds, resveratrol and doxorubicin, triggered p53-independent premature senescence by invoking oxidative stress-mediated DNA damage. This process involved the mTOR-dependent phosphorylation of SIRT1 at serine 47, resulting in the inhibition of the deacetylase activity of SIRT1. SIRT1 phosphorylation caused concomitant increases in p65/RelA NF-?B acetylation and the expression of an anti-apoptotic Bfl-1/A1. SIRT1 physically interacts with the mTOR-Raptor complex, and a single amino acid substitution in the TOS (TOR signaling) motif in the SIRT1 prevented Ser-47 phosphorylation and Bfl-1/A1 induction. The pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of mTOR, unphosphorylatable S47A, or F474A TOS mutants restored SIRT1 deacetylase activity, blocked Bfl-1/A1 induction, and sensitized prematurely senescent SCC cells for apoptosis. We further show that the treatment of UVB-induced SCCs with doxorubicin transiently stabilized tumor growth but was followed by tumor regrowth upon drug removal in p53(+/-)/SKH-1 mice. The subsequent treatment of stabilized SCCs with rapamycin decreased tumor size and induced caspase-3 activation. These results demonstrate that the inhibition of SIRT1 by mTOR fosters survival of DNA damage-induced prematurely senescent SCC cells via Bfl-1/A1 in the absence of functional p53.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent studies have demonstrated that activation of autophagy increases the lifespan of organisms from yeast to flies. In contrast to the lifespan extension effect in lower organisms, it has been reported that overexpression of unc-51-like kinase 3 (ULK3), the mammalian homolog of autophagy-specific gene 1 (ATG1), induces premature senescence in human fibroblasts. Therefore, we assessed whether the activation of autophagy would genuinely induce premature senescence in human cells. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Depletion of ATG7, ATG12, or lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2 (Lamp2) by transfecting siRNA or infecting cells with a virus containing gene-specific shRNA resulted in a senescence-like state in two strains of primary human fibroblasts. Prematurely senescent cells induced by autophagy impairment exhibited the senescent phenotypes, similar to the replicatively senescent cells, such as increased senescence associated ?-galactosidase (SA-?-gal) activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and accumulation of lipofuscin. In addition, expression levels of ribosomal protein S6 kinase1 (S6K1), p-S6K1, p-S6, and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and beclin-1, ATG7, ATG12-ATG5 conjugate, and the sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1/p62) monomer in the autophagy pathway were decreased in both the replicatively and the autophagy impairment-induced prematurely senescent cells. Furthermore, it was found that ROS scavenging by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and inhibition of p53 activation by pifithrin-? or knockdown of p53 using siRNA, respectively, delayed autophagy impairment-induced premature senescence and restored the expression levels of components in the mTOR and autophagy pathways. CONCLUSION:Taken together, we concluded that autophagy impairment induces premature senescence through a ROS- and p53-dependent manner in primary human fibroblasts.
Project description:Processes that have been linked to aging and cancer include an inflammatory milieu driven by senescent cells. Senescent cells lose the ability to divide, essentially irreversibly, and secrete numerous proteases, cytokines and growth factors, termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Senescent cells that lack p53 tumor suppressor function show an exaggerated SASP, suggesting the SASP is negatively controlled by p53. Here, we show that increased p53 activity caused by small molecule inhibitors of MDM2, which promotes p53 degradation, reduces inflammatory cytokine production by senescent cells. Upon treatment with the MDM2 inhibitors nutlin-3a or MI-63, human cells acquired a senescence-like growth arrest, but the arrest was reversible. Importantly, the inhibitors reduced expression of the signature SASP factors IL-6 and IL-1? by cells made senescent by genotoxic stimuli, and suppressed the ability of senescent fibroblasts to stimulate breast cancer cell aggressiveness. Our findings suggest that MDM2 inhibitors could reduce cancer progression in part by reducing the pro-inflammatory environment created by senescent cells.
Project description:During cell cycle arrest caused by contact inhibition (CI), cells do not undergo senescence, thus resuming proliferation after replating. The mechanism of senescence avoidance during CI is unknown. Recently, it was demonstrated that the senescence program, namely conversion from cell cycle arrest to senescence (i.e., geroconversion), requires mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Geroconversion can be suppressed by serum starvation, rapamycin, and hypoxia, which all inhibit mTOR. Here we demonstrate that CI, as evidenced by p27 induction in normal cells, was associated with inhibition of the mTOR pathway. Furthermore, CI antagonized senescence caused by CDK inhibitors. Stimulation of mTOR in contact-inhibited cells favored senescence. In cancer cells lacking p27 induction and CI, mTOR was still inhibited in confluent culture as a result of conditioning of the medium. This inhibition of mTOR suppressed p21-induced senescence. Also, trapping of malignant cells among contact-inhibited normal cells antagonized p21-induced senescence. Thus, we identified two nonmutually exclusive mechanisms of mTOR inhibition in high cell density: (i) CI associated with p27 induction in normal cells and (ii) conditioning of the medium, especially in cancer cells. Both mechanisms can coincide in various proportions in various cells. Our work explains why CI is reversible and, most importantly, why cells avoid senescence in vivo, given that cells are contact-inhibited in the organism.
Project description:Transient induction of p53 can cause reversible quiescence and irreversible senescence. Using nutlin-3a (a small molecule that activates p53 without causing DNA damage), we have previously identified cell lines in which nutlin-3a caused quiescence. Importantly, nutlin-3a caused quiescence by actively suppressing the senescence program (while still causing cell cycle arrest). Noteworthy, in these cells nutlin-3a inhibited the mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin) pathway, which is known to be involved in the senescence program. Here we showed that shRNA-mediated knockdown of TSC2, a negative regulator of mTOR, partially converted quiescence into senescence in these nutlin-arrested cells. In accord, in melanoma cell lines and mouse embryo fibroblasts, which easily undergo senescence in response to p53 activation, nutlin-3a failed to inhibit mTOR. In these senescence-prone cells, the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin converted nutlin-3a-induced senescence into quiescence. We conclude that status of the mTOR pathway can determine, at least in part, the choice between senescence and quiescence in p53-arrested cells.
Project description:Sunlight predisposes to skin cancer and melanomas. Ultraviolet A (UVA), a long wave component of sunlight, can reach dermal fibroblasts. Here we studied UVA-induced senescence in human fibroblasts in vitro. It is known that senescence occurs, when cell cycle is arrested, but mTOR is still active, thus converting arrest to senescence (geroconversion). We showed that, while arresting cell cycle, UVA did not inhibit mTOR, enabling geroconversion. In UVA-treated cells, mTOR remained fully active. Rapamycin and Torins 1/ 2 prevented UVA-induced senescent phenotype, although they further re-enforced cell cycle arrest. Given that senescent stromal fibroblasts support tumorigenesis, we envision that mTOR inhibitors may potentially be used to prevent sunlight-caused tumors as well as skin photo-aging.