Partial proteasome inhibition in human fibroblasts triggers accelerated M1 senescence or M2 crisis depending on p53 and Rb status

Niki Chondrogianni, Ioannis P. Trougakos, Dimitris Kletsas, Qin M. Chen, Efstathios S. Gonos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Proteasome-dependent degradation has been extensively investigated and has been shown to play a vital role in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Proteasome activity and expression are reduced during aging and replicative senescence. Its activation has been shown to confer lifespan extension in human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs), whereas partial proteasome inhibition triggers an irreversible premature senescent state in young HDFs. As p53 and Rb tumor suppressors regulate both replicative and premature senescence (RS and PS, respectively), in this study we investigated their implication in proteasome inhibition-mediated PS. By taking advantage of a variety of HDFs with defective p53 or/and Rb pathways, we reveal that proteasome activity inhibition to levels normally found in senescent human cells results in immediate growth arrest and/or moderate increase of apoptotic death. These effects are independent of the cellular genetic context. However, in the long term, proteasome inhibition-mediated PS can only be initiated and maintained in the presence of functional p53. More specifically, we demonstrate that following partial proteasome inhibition, senescence is dominant in HDFs with functional p53 and Rb molecules, crisis/death is induced in cells with high p53 levels and defective Rb pathway, whereas stress recovery and restoration of normal cycling occurs in cells that lack functional p53. These data reveal the continuous interplay between the integrity of proteasome function, senescence and cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-732
Number of pages16
JournalAging Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Aging
  • Premature senescence
  • Proteasome
  • Proteasome inhibition
  • Rb
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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