p53 isoforms regulate premature aging in human cells

Oncogene. 2018 May;37(18):2379-2393. doi: 10.1038/s41388-017-0101-3. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Cellular senescence is a hallmark of normal aging and aging-related syndromes, including the premature aging disorder Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), a rare genetic disorder caused by a single mutation in the LMNA gene that results in the constitutive expression of a truncated splicing mutant of lamin A known as progerin. Progerin accumulation leads to increased cellular stresses including unrepaired DNA damage, activation of the p53 signaling pathway and accelerated senescence. We previously established that the p53 isoforms ∆133p53 and p53β regulate senescence in normal human cells. However, their role in premature aging is unknown. Here we report that p53 isoforms are expressed in primary fibroblasts derived from HGPS patients, are associated with their accelerated senescence and that their manipulation can restore the replication capacity of HGPS fibroblasts. We found that in near-senescent HGPS fibroblasts, which exhibit low levels of ∆133p53 and high levels of p53β, restoration of Δ133p53 expression was sufficient to extend replicative lifespan and delay senescence, despite progerin levels and abnormal nuclear morphology remaining unchanged. Conversely, Δ133p53 depletion or p53β overexpression accelerated the onset of senescence in otherwise proliferative HGPS fibroblasts. Our data indicate that Δ133p53 exerts its role by modulating full-length p53 (FLp53) signaling to extend the replicative lifespan and promotes the repair of spontaneous progerin-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). We showed that Δ133p53 dominant-negative inhibition of FLp53 occurs directly at the p21/CDKN1A and miR-34a promoters, two p53 senescence-associated genes. In addition, Δ133p53 expression increased the expression of DNA repair RAD51, likely through upregulation of E2F1, a transcription factor that activates RAD51, to promote repair of DSBs. In summary, our data indicate that Δ133p53 modulates p53 signaling to repress progerin-induced early onset of senescence in HGPS cells. Therefore, restoration of ∆133p53 expression may be a novel therapeutic strategy to treat aging-associated phenotypes of HGPS in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging, Premature / genetics*
  • Aging, Premature / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Progeria / genetics
  • Progeria / pathology
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / physiology*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53