Disparate effects of telomere attrition on gene expression during replicative senescence of human mammary epithelial cells cultured under different conditions

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

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Adult; Cell Aging; Cell Lineage; Epithelial Cells; Female; *Gene Expression Regulation; Humans; Mammary Glands, Animal; Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis; *Telomere


Cell Biology


Telomere shortening in populations of human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) that survive early replicative arrest (M0) by the inactivation of p16(INK4A) during cell culture on plastic dishes leads to a state of permanent replicative arrest termed senescence. While culture of HMECs on feeder layers abrogates M0 and p16(INK4A) inactivation, progressive telomere attrition in these cells also eventually results in permanent replicative arrest. Expression of telomerase prevents both senescence on plastic (S-P) and senescence on feeder layers (S-FL) in HMECs, as it does also in cultured primary human fibroblasts. We report here that the gene expression profiles of senescence in HMECs of the same lineage maintained under different culture conditions showed surprisingly little commonality. Moreover, neither of these senescence-associated profiles in HMECs resembles the profile for senescence in human fibroblasts. These results indicate that senescence-associated alterations in gene expression resulting from telomere attrition are affected by culture conditions as well as by cell origins, and argue that replicative senescence at the molecular level is a diverse rather than unique cellular process.

DOI of Published Version



Oncogene. 2004 Aug 19;23(37):6193-8. Link to article on publisher's site

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