Senescence is a permanent growth arrest that restricts the lifespan of primary cells in culture, and represents an in vitro model for aging. Senescence functions as a tumor suppressor mechanism that can be induced independent of replicative crisis by diverse stress stimuli. RNase-L mediates antiproliferative activities and functions as a tumor suppressor in prostate cancer, therefore, we examined a role for RNase-L in cellular senescence and aging. Ectopic expression of RNase-L induced a senescent morphology, a decrease in DNA synthesis, an increase in senescence-associated -galactosidase activity, and accelerated replicative senescence. In contrast, senescence was retarded in RNase-L-null fibroblasts compared with wild-type fibroblasts. Activation of endogenous RNase-L by 2-5A transfection induced distinct senescent and apoptotic responses in parental and Simian virus 40-transformed WI38 fibroblasts, respectively, demonstrating cell type specific differences in the antiproliferative response to RNase-L activation. Replicative senescence is a model for in vivo aging; therefore, genetic disruption of senescence effectors may impact lifespan. RNase-L-/- mice survived 31.7% (P<0.0001) longer than strain-matched RNase-L+/+ mice providing evidence for a physiological role for RNase-L in aging. These findings identify a novel role for RNase-L in senescence that may contribute to its tumor suppressive function and to the enhanced longevity of RNase-L-/- mice.
Andersen, J. B.; Li, X. L.; Judge, C. S.; Zhou, Aimin; Jha, B. K.; Shelby, S.; Zhou, L.; Silverman, Robert H.; and Hassel, B. A., "Role of 2-5A-Dependent RNase-L in Senescence and Longevity" (2007). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 408.