Cellular senescence was first reported five decades ago as a state of long-term growth inhibition in viable, metabolically active cells cultured in vitro. However, evidence that senescence occurs in vivo and underlies pathophysiologic processes has only emerged over the past few years. Coincident with this increased knowledge, understanding of the mechanisms that control senescent-cell gene expression programs has also recently escalated. Such mechanisms include a prominent group of regulatory factors (miRNA), a family of small, noncoding RNAs that interact with select target mRNAs and typically repress their expression. Here, we review recent reports that miRNAs are key modulators of cellular senescence, and we examine their influence upon specific senescence-regulatory proteins. We discuss evidence that dysregulation of miRNA-governed senescence programs underlies age-associated diseases, including cancer.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.