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Gene. 2007 Aug 1;397(1-2):84-93. Epub 2007 May 1.

Remodeling of chromatin structure in senescent cells and its potential impact on tumor suppression and aging.

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  • 1W446, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Cellular senescence is an important tumor suppression process, and a possible contributor to tissue aging. Senescence is accompanied by extensive changes in chromatin structure. In particular, many senescent cells accumulate specialized domains of facultative heterochromatin, called Senescence-Associated Heterochromatin Foci (SAHF), which are thought to repress expression of proliferation-promoting genes, thereby contributing to senescence-associated proliferation arrest. This article reviews our current understanding of the structure, assembly and function of these SAHF at a cellular level. The possible contribution of SAHF to tumor suppression and tissue aging is also critically discussed.

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