Unveiling E2F4, TEAD1 and AP-1 as regulatory transcription factors of the replicative senescence program by multi-omics analysis

Protein Cell. 2022 Oct;13(10):742-759. doi: 10.1007/s13238-021-00894-z. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Senescence, a stable state of growth arrest, affects many physiological and pathophysiological processes, especially aging. Previous work has indicated that transcription factors (TFs) play a role in regulating senescence. However, a systematic study of regulatory TFs during replicative senescence (RS) using multi-omics analysis is still lacking. Here, we generated time-resolved RNA-seq, reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) and ATAC-seq datasets during RS of mouse skin fibroblasts, which demonstrated that an enhanced inflammatory response and reduced proliferative capacity were the main characteristics of RS in both the transcriptome and epigenome. Through integrative analysis and genetic manipulations, we found that transcription factors E2F4, TEAD1 and AP-1 are key regulators of RS. Overexpression of E2f4 improved cellular proliferative capacity, attenuated SA-β-Gal activity and changed RS-associated differentially methylated sites (DMSs). Moreover, knockdown of Tead1 attenuated SA-β-Gal activity and partially altered the RS-associated transcriptome. In addition, knockdown of Atf3, one member of AP-1 superfamily TFs, reduced Cdkn2a (p16) expression in pre-senescent fibroblasts. Taken together, the results of this study identified transcription factors regulating the senescence program through multi-omics analysis, providing potential therapeutic targets for anti-aging.

Keywords: multi-omics; senescence; transcription factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence* / genetics
  • E2F4 Transcription Factor* / genetics
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Mice
  • TEA Domain Transcription Factors* / genetics
  • TEA Domain Transcription Factors* / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor AP-1* / genetics
  • Transcription Factor AP-1* / metabolism
  • Transcriptome


  • E2F4 Transcription Factor
  • E2f4 protein, mouse
  • TEA Domain Transcription Factors
  • Tead1 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factor AP-1