Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a devastating incurable premature aging disease caused by accumulation of progerin, a toxic lamin A mutant protein. HGPS patient-derived cells exhibit nuclear morphological abnormalities, altered signaling pathways, genomic instability, and premature senescence. Here we uncover new molecular mechanisms contributing to cellular decline in progeria. We demonstrate that HGPS cells reduce expression of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and DNA repair factors BRCA1 and 53BP1 with progerin accumulation, and that reconstituting VDR signaling via 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) treatment improves HGPS phenotypes, including nuclear morphological abnormalities, DNA repair defects, and premature senescence. Importantly, we discovered that the 1,25D/VDR axis regulates LMNA gene expression, as well as expression of DNA repair factors. 1,25D dramatically reduces progerin production in HGPS cells, while stabilizing BRCA1 and 53BP1, two key factors for genome integrity. Vitamin D/VDR axis emerges as a new target for treatment of HGPS and potentially other lamin-related diseases exhibiting VDR deficiency and genomic instability. Because progerin expression increases with age, maintaining vitamin D/VDR signaling could keep the levels of progerin in check during physiological aging.
Keywords: DNA repair; Gerotarget; genomic instability; laminopathies; progeria; vitamin D receptor.