Protein oxidation and degradation during proliferative senescence of human MRC-5 fibroblasts

Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Mar 1;28(5):701-8. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(99)00279-8.


One of the highlights of age-related changes of cellular metabolism is the accumulation of oxidized proteins. The aging process on a cellular level can be treated either as the ongoing proliferation until a certain number of cell divisions is reached (the Hayflick limit) or as the aging of nondividing cells, that is, the age-related changes in cells without proliferation. The present investigation was undertaken to reveal the changes in protein turnover, proteasome activity, and protein oxidation status during proliferative senescence. We were able to demonstrate that the activity of the cytosolic proteasomal system declines dramatically during the proliferative senescence of human MRC-5 fibroblasts. Regardless of the loss in activity, it could be demonstrated that there are no changes in the transcription and translation of proteasomal subunits. This decline in proteasome activity was accompanied by an increased concentration of oxidized proteins. Cells at higher proliferation stages were no longer able to respond with increased degradation of endogenous [(35)S]-Met-radiolabeled proteins after hydrogen peroxide- or quinone-induced oxidative stress. It could be demonstrated that oxidized proteins in senescent human MRC-5 fibroblasts are not as quickly removed as they are in young cells. Therefore, our study demonstrates that the accumulation of oxidized proteins and decline in protein turnover and activity of the proteasomal system are not only a process of postmitotic aging but also occur during proliferative senescence and result in an increased half-life of oxidized proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism


  • Free Radicals
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Proteins
  • RNA
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex