Oxygen sensitivity severely limits the replicative lifespan of murine fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT: Most mammalian cells do not divide indefinitely, owing to a process termed replicative senescence. In human cells, replicative senescence is caused by telomere shortening, but murine cells senesce despite having long stable telomeres. Here, we show that the phenotypes of senescent human fibroblasts and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) differ under standard culture conditions, which include 20% oxygen. MEFs did not senesce in physiological (3%) oxygen levels, but underwent a spontaneous event that allowed indefinite proliferation in 20% oxygen. The proliferation and cytogenetic profiles of DNA repair-deficient MEFs suggested that DNA damage limits MEF proliferation in 20% oxygen. Indeed, MEFs accumulated more DNA damage in 20% oxygen than 3% oxygen, and more damage than human fibroblasts in 20% oxygen. Our results identify oxygen sensitivity as a critical difference between mouse and human cells, explaining their proliferative differences in culture, and possibly their different rates of cancer and ageing.
Project description:Despite having long telomeres, mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) senesce more rapidly than human diploid fibroblasts because of the accumulation of oxidative DNA damage. The CUX1 homeodomain protein was recently found to prevent senescence in RAS-driven cancer cells that produce elevated levels of reactive-oxygen species. Here we show that Cux1-/- MEFs are unable to proliferate in atmospheric (20%) oxygen although they can proliferate normally in physiological (3%) oxygen levels. CUX1 contains three domains called Cut repeats. Structure/function analysis established that a single Cut repeat domain can stimulate the DNA binding, Schiff-base formation, glycosylase and AP-lyase activities of 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1, OGG1. Strikingly and in contrast to previous reports, OGG1 exhibits efficient AP-lyase activity in the presence of a Cut repeat. Repair of oxidative DNA damage and proliferation in 20% oxygen were both rescued in Cux1-/- MEFs by ectopic expression of CUX1 or of a recombinant Cut repeat protein that stimulates OGG1 but is devoid of transcription activation potential. These findings reinforce the causal link between oxidative DNA damage and cellular senescence and suggest that the role of CUX1 as an accessory factor in DNA repair will be critical in physiological situations that generate higher levels of reactive oxygen species.
Project description:The p53 tumor suppressor is a stress sensor, driving cell cycle arrest or apoptosis in response to DNA damage or oncogenic signals. p53 activation by oncogenic signals relies on the p19(Arf) tumor suppressor, while p53 activation downstream of acute DNA damage is reported to be p19(Arf)-independent. Accordingly, p19(Arf)-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) arrest in response to acute DNA damage. However, p19(Arf) is required for replicative senescence, a condition associated with an activated DNA damage response, as p19(Arf)-/- MEFs do not senesce after serial passage. A possible explanation for these seemingly disparate roles for p19(Arf) is that acute and chronic DNA damage responses are mechanistically distinct. Replicative senescence may result from chronic, low-dose DNA damage responses in which p19(Arf) has a specific role. We therefore examined the role of p19(Arf) in cellular responses to chronic, low-dose DNA-damaging agent treatment by maintaining MEFs in low oxygen and administering 0.5?G?y ?-irradiation daily or 150??M hydroxyurea, a replication stress inducer. In contrast to their response to acute DNA damage, p19(Arf)-/- MEFs exposed to chronic DNA damage do not senesce, revealing a selective role for p19(Arf) in senescence upon low-level, chronic DNA damage. We show further that p53 pathway activation in p19(Arf)-/- MEFs exposed to chronic DNA damage is attenuated relative to wild-type MEFs, suggesting a role for p19(Arf) in fine-tuning p53 activity. However, combined Nutlin3a and chronic DNA-damaging agent treatment is insufficient to promote senescence in p19(Arf)-/- MEFs, suggesting that the role of p19(Arf) in the chronic DNA damage response may be partially p53-independent. These data suggest the importance of p19(Arf) for the cellular response to the low-level DNA damage incurred in culture or upon oncogene expression, providing new insight into how p19(Arf) serves as a tumor suppressor. Moreover, our study helps reconcile reports suggesting crucial roles for both p19(Arf) and DNA damage-signaling pathways in tumor suppression.
Project description:Transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) signaling regulates cell cycle progression in several cell types, primarily by inducing a G1 cell cycle arrest. Tgif1 is a transcriptional corepressor that limits TGF? responsive gene expression. Here we demonstrate that primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking Tgif1 proliferate slowly, accumulate increased levels of DNA damage, and senesce prematurely. We also provide evidence that the effects of loss of Tgif1 on proliferation and senescence are not limited to primary cells. The increased DNA damage in Tgif1 null MEFs can be partially reversed by culturing cells at physiological oxygen levels, and growth in normoxic conditions also partially rescues the proliferation defect, suggesting that in the absence of Tgif1 primary MEFs are less able to cope with elevated levels of oxidative stress. Additionally, we show that Tgif1 null MEFs are more sensitive to TGF?-mediated growth inhibition, and that treatment with a TGF? receptor kinase inhibitor increases proliferation of Tgif1 null MEFs. Conversely, persistent treatment of wild type cells with low levels of TGF? slows proliferation and induces senescence, suggesting that TGF? signaling also contributes to cellular senescence. We suggest that in the absence of Tgif1, a persistent increase in TGF? responsive transcription and a reduced ability to deal with hyperoxic stress result in premature senescence in primary MEFs.
Project description:Cellular senescence suppresses cancer by preventing the proliferation of cells that experience potentially oncogenic stimuli. Senescent cells often express p16(INK4a), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, tumor suppressor, and biomarker of aging, which renders the senescence growth arrest irreversible. Senescent cells also acquire a complex phenotype that includes the secretion of many cytokines, growth factors, and proteases, termed a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP is proposed to underlie age-related pathologies, including, ironically, late life cancer. Here, we show that ectopic expression of p16(INK4a) and another cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21(CIP1/WAF1), induces senescence without a SASP, even though they induced other features of senescence, including a stable growth arrest. Additionally, human fibroblasts induced to senesce by ionizing radiation or oncogenic RAS developed a SASP regardless of whether they expressed p16(INK4a). Cells induced to senesce by ectopic p16(INK4a) expression lacked paracrine activity on epithelial cells, consistent with the absence of a functional SASP. Nonetheless, expression of p16(INK4a) by cells undergoing replicative senescence limited the accumulation of DNA damage and premature cytokine secretion, suggesting an indirect role for p16(INK4a) in suppressing the SASP. These findings suggest that p16(INK4a)-positive cells may not always harbor a SASP in vivo and, furthermore, that the SASP is not a consequence of p16(INK4a) activation or senescence per se, but rather is a damage response that is separable from the growth arrest.
Project description:The proliferative lifespan of normal somatic human cells in culture terminates in a permanent growth-arrested state known as replicative senescence. In this study, we show that RNA interference-mediated repression of the genes encoding the small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO)-specific proteases, Senp1, Senp2, and Senp7, induced low passage primary human fibroblasts to senesce rapidly. Following Senp1 repression, we observed a global increase in sumoylated proteins and in the number and size of nuclear SUMO-containing promyelocytic leukemia (PML) bodies. SUMO/PML bodies also increased during replicative senescence. p53 transcriptional activity was enhanced towards known p53 target genes following repression of Senp1, and inhibition of p53 function prevented senescence after Senp1 repression. These data indicate that Senp1 repression induces p53-mediated premature senescence and that SUMO proteases may thus be required for proliferation of normal human cells.
Project description:Cellular senescence irreversibly arrests cell proliferation in response to oncogenic stimuli. Human cells develop a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which increases the secretion of cytokines and other factors that alter the behavior of neighboring cells. We show here that "senescent" mouse fibroblasts, which arrested growth after repeated passage under standard culture conditions (20% oxygen), do not express a human-like SASP, and differ from similarly cultured human cells in other respects. However, when cultured in physiological (3%) oxygen and induced to senesce by radiation, mouse cells more closely resemble human cells, including expression of a robust SASP. We describe two new aspects of the human and mouse SASPs. First, cells from both species upregulated the expression and secretion of several matrix metalloproteinases, which comprise a conserved genomic cluster. Second, for both species, the ability to promote the growth of premalignant epithelial cells was due primarily to the conserved SASP factor CXCL-1/KC/GRO-alpha. Further, mouse fibroblasts made senescent in 3%, but not 20%, oxygen promoted epithelial tumorigenesis in mouse xenographs. Our findings underscore critical mouse-human differences in oxygen sensitivity, identify conditions to use mouse cells to model human cellular senescence, and reveal novel conserved features of the SASP.
Project description:Increases in cellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) concentration with age have been observed repeatedly in mammalian tissues. Concomitant increases in the proportion of replicatively senescent cells in ageing mammalian tissues have also been observed. Populations of mitotic human fibroblasts cultured in vitro, undergoing transition from proliferation competence to replicative senescence are useful models of ageing human tissues. Similar exponential increases in ROS with age have been observed in this model system. Tracking individual cells in dividing populations is difficult, and so the vast majority of observations have been cross-sectional, at the population level, rather than longitudinal observations of individual cells.One possible explanation for these observations is an exponential increase in ROS in individual fibroblasts with time (e.g. resulting from a vicious cycle between cellular ROS and damage). However, we demonstrate an alternative, simple hypothesis, equally consistent with these observations which does not depend on any gradual increase in ROS concentration: the Stochastic Step Model of Replicative Senescence (SSMRS). We also demonstrate that, consistent with the SSMRS, neither proliferation-competent human fibroblasts of any age, nor populations of hTERT overexpressing human fibroblasts passaged beyond the Hayflick limit, display high ROS concentrations. We conclude that longitudinal studies of single cells and their lineages are now required for testing hypotheses about roles and mechanisms of ROS increase during replicative senescence.
Project description:When the cell cycle is arrested, even though growth-promoting pathways such as mTOR are still active, then cells senesce. For example, induction of either p21 or p16 arrests the cell cycle without inhibiting mTOR, which, in turn, converts p21/p16-induced arrest into senescence (geroconversion). Here we show that geroconversion is accompanied by dramatic accumulation of cyclin D1 followed by cyclin E and replicative stress. When p21 was switched off, senescent cells (despite their loss of proliferative potential) progressed through S phase, and levels of cyclins D1 and E dropped. Most cells entered mitosis and then died, either during mitotic arrest or after mitotic slippage, or underwent endoreduplication. Next, we investigated whether inhibition of mTOR would prevent accumulation of cyclins and loss of mitotic competence in p21-arrested cells. Both nutlin-3, which inhibits mTOR in these cells, and rapamycin suppressed geroconversion during p21-induced arrest, decelerated accumulation of cyclins D1 and E and decreased replicative stress. When p21 was switched off, cells successfully progressed through both S phase and mitosis. Also, senescent mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) overexpressed cyclin D1. After release from cell cycle arrest, senescent MEFs entered S phase but could not undergo mitosis and did not proliferate. We conclude that cellular senescence is characterized by futile hyper-mitogenic drive associated with mTOR-dependent mitotic incompetence.
Project description:Overexpression of zinc finger E-box binding homeobox transcription factor 1 (Zeb1) in cancer leads to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and increased metastasis. As opposed to overexpression, we show that mutation of Zeb1 in mice causes a mesenchymal-epithelial transition in gene expression characterized by ectopic expression of epithelial genes such as E-cadherin and loss of expression of mesenchymal genes such as vimentin. In contrast to rapid proliferation in cancer cells where Zeb1 is overexpressed, this mesenchymal-epithelial transition in mutant mice is associated with diminished proliferation of progenitor cells at sites of developmental defects, including the forming palate, skeleton and CNS. Zeb1 dosage-dependent deregulation of epithelial and mesenchymal genes extends to mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and mutant MEFs also display diminished replicative capacity in culture, leading to premature senescence. Replicative senescence in MEFs is classically triggered by products of the Ink4a (Cdkn2a) gene. However, this Ink4a pathway is not activated during senescence of Zeb1 mutant MEFs. Instead, there is ectopic expression of two other cell cycle inhibitory cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p15Ink4b (Cdkn2b) and p21Cdkn1a (Cdkn1a). We demonstrate that this ectopic expression of p15Ink4b extends in vivo to sites of diminished progenitor cell proliferation and developmental defects in Zeb1-null mice.
Project description:Here we show that replicative senescence in normal human diploid IMR90 fibroblasts is accompanied by altered expression of a set of microRNAs (miRNAs) (senescence-associated miRNAs), with 14 and 10 miRNAs being either up or downregulated (>2-fold), respectively, in senescent with respect to young cells. The expression of most of these miRNAs was also deregulated upon senescence induced by DNA damage (etoposide) or mild oxidative stress (diethylmaleate). Four downregulated miRNAs were part of miRNA family-17, recently associated to human cell and tissue aging. Moreover, eight upregulated and six downregulated miRNAs mapped in specific chromosomal clusters, suggesting common transcriptional regulation. Upon adoptive overexpression, seven upregulated miRNAs induced the formation of senescence-associated heterochromatin foci and senescence-associated ?-galactosidase staining (P<0.05), which was accompanied, in the case of five of them, by reduced cell proliferation. Finally, miR-210, miR-376a(*), miR-486-5p, miR-494, and miR-542-5p induced double-strand DNA breaks and reactive oxygen species accumulation in transfected cells. In conclusion, we have identified a set of human miRNAs induced during replicative and chemically induced senescence that are able to foster the senescent phenotype by prompting DNA damage.