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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959:45-9.

Down-regulation of receptor-mediated endocytosis is responsible for senescence-associated hyporesponsiveness.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Human diploid fibroblasts (HDF) do not divide indefinitely and eventually lead to an arrest of cell division by a process termed cellular or replicative senescence. Irreversible growth arrest of senescent cells is strongly related to the attenuated response to growth factors. Recently, we reported that up-regulation of caveolin in the senescent cells is responsible for the attenuated response to growth factors. Senescent cells did not phosphorylate Erk-1/2 after EGF stimulation, whereas young cells did. In those senescent cells, we found an increased level of caveolin proteins and strong interactions between caveolin-1 and EGFR. When we overexpressed caveolin-1 in young HDF, the activation of Erk-1/2 on EGF stimulation was significantly suppressed. These results suggest that the hyporesponsiveness of senescent fibroblasts to EGF stimulation might be due to the overexpression of caveolin. In addition, the clathrin-dependent endocytosis system plays the more active and dominant role over the caveolae system. Therefore, we monitored the efficiency of clathrin-dependent receptor-mediated endocytosis in the senescent cells in order to elucidate the exact mode of the attenuated response to growth factors in the senescent cells. Using a transferrin-uptake assay and Western blot analysis of endocytosis-related proteins, we found a significant decrease of amphiphysin-1 in human diploid fibroblasts of multipassages. By adjusting the level of amphiphysin, we could modulate the efficiency of receptor-mediated endocytosis either in young or old cells toward growth factors: that is, a dominant negative mutant of amphiphysin-1 blocked the endocytosis in the young cells, while microinjection of the gene resumed its activity in the old cells. Taken together, we conclude that the loss of endocytotic activity of senescent cells is directly related to the down-regulation of amphiphysin-1 and/or up-regulation of caveolins. This opens a new field of functional recovery of the senescent cells simply through adjusting the receptor-mediated endocytosis capacity.

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