Suzuki, K., Mori, I., Nakayama, Y., Miyakoda, M., Kodama, S. and Watanabe, M. Radiation-Induced Senescence-like Growth Arrest Requires TP53 Function but not Telomere Shortening.

Normal human diploid cells irradiated with X rays showed permanent cell cycle arrest and exhibited senescence-like phenotypes including the expression of senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal). X irradiation caused persistent phosphorylation of TP53 at Ser 15 and accumulation of the TP53 protein, followed by the induction of CDKN1A (also known as p21Waf1/Cip1) and CDKN2A (also known as p16), preceded the expression of SA-β-gal. NCI-H1299 human lung carcinoma cells, in which no TP53 protein was expressed, were irradiated with X rays with or without the exogenous expression of TP53 gene. Although induction of TP53 protein alone could induce SA-β-gal expression, the frequency of SA-β-gal-positive cells was significantly increased when TP53-induced H1299 cells were exposed to X rays. The mean terminal restriction fragment length in normal human cells was approximately 12 kb and did not change in SA-β-gal-positive cells. These results indicate that ionizing radiation induces senescence-like growth arrest that is dependent on TP53 function but independent of telomere shortening. Our findings suggest that cells harboring irreparable DNA damage are programmed to undergo premature senescence to maintain the integrity of the genome.

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