FBW7 Mediates Senescence and Pulmonary Fibrosis through Telomere Uncapping

Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 3;32(5):860-877.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Oct 20.


Tissue stem cells undergo premature senescence under stress, promoting age-related diseases; however, the associated mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we report that in response to radiation, oxidative stress, or bleomycin, the E3 ubiquitin ligase FBW7 mediates cell senescence and tissue fibrosis through telomere uncapping. FBW7 binding to telomere protection protein 1 (TPP1) facilitates TPP1 multisite polyubiquitination and accelerates degradation, triggering telomere uncapping and DNA damage response. Overexpressing TPP1 or inhibiting FBW7 by genetic ablation, epigenetic interference, or peptidomimetic telomere dysfunction inhibitor (TELODIN) reduces telomere uncapping and shortening, expanding the pulmonary alveolar AEC2 stem cell population in mice. TELODIN, synthesized from the seventh β strand blade of FBW7 WD40 propeller domain, increases TPP1 stability, lung respiratory function, and resistance to senescence and fibrosis in animals chronically exposed to environmental stress. Our findings elucidate a pivotal mechanism underlying stress-induced pulmonary epithelial stem cell senescence and fibrosis, providing a framework for aging-related disorder interventions.

Keywords: DNA damage response; FBXW7; TPP1; cellular senescence; chronic stress; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; premature aging; proteostasis; stem cells; telomere; telomere uncapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't