The SETD8/PR-Set7 Methyltransferase Functions as a Barrier to Prevent Senescence-Associated Metabolic Remodeling

Cell Rep. 2017 Feb 28;18(9):2148-2161. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.021.


Cellular senescence is an irreversible growth arrest that contributes to development, tumor suppression, and age-related conditions. Senescent cells show active metabolism compared with proliferating cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that the SETD8/PR-Set7 methyltransferase, which catalyzes mono-methylation of histone H4 at lysine 20 (H4K20me1), suppresses nucleolar and mitochondrial activities to prevent cellular senescence. SETD8 protein was selectively downregulated in both oncogene-induced and replicative senescence. Inhibition of SETD8 alone was sufficient to trigger senescence. Under these states, the expression of genes encoding ribosomal proteins (RPs) and ribosomal RNAs as well as the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p16INK4A was increased, with a corresponding reduction of H4K20me1 at each locus. As a result, the loss of SETD8 concurrently stimulated nucleolar function and retinoblastoma protein-mediated mitochondrial metabolism. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that SETD8 acts as a barrier to prevent cellular senescence through chromatin-mediated regulation of senescence-associated metabolic remodeling.

Keywords: H4K20 methylation; SETD8/PR-Set7; mitochondria; nucleolus; senescence-associated metabolic remodeling.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • Down-Regulation / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Histones
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • KMT5A protein, human
  • Lysine