The mechanism by which p53 suppresses tumorigenesis remains poorly understood. In the context of aberrant activation of the JAK/STAT5 pathway, SOCS1 is required for p53 activation and the regulation of cellular senescence. In order to identify p53 target genes acting during the senescence response to oncogenic STAT5A, we characterized the transcriptome of STAT5A-expressing cells after SOCS1 inhibition. We identified a set of SOCS1-dependent p53 target genes that include several secreted proteins and genes regulating oxidative metabolism and ferroptosis. Exogenous SOCS1 was sufficient to regulate the expression of p53 target genes and sensitized cells to ferroptosis. This effect correlated with the ability of SOCS1 to reduce the expression of the cystine transporter SLC7A11 and the levels of glutathione. SOCS1 and SOCS1-dependent p53 target genes were induced during the senescence response to oncogenic STAT5A, RasV12 or the tumor suppressor PML. However, while SOCS1 sensitized cells to ferroptosis neither RasV12 nor STAT5A mimicked the effect. Intriguingly, PML turned cells highly resistant to ferroptosis. The results indicate different susceptibilities to ferroptosis in senescent cells depending on the trigger and suggest the possibility of killing senescent cells by inhibiting pathways that mediate ferroptosis resistance.
Keywords: KAP1; ferroptosis; senescence; suppressor of cytokine signaling; tumor suppressor.