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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jun;26(11):4161-71.

Prohibitin facilitates cellular senescence by recruiting specific corepressors to inhibit E2F target genes.

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  • 1Dept. of Interdisciplinary Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, University of South Florida, 12902 Magnolia Dr., Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Prohibitin is a growth regulatory gene that has pleiotropic functions in the nucleus, mitochondria, and cytoplasmic compartments. Earlier studies had proposed a role for prohibitin in modulating cellular senescence, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here we show that senescence induced by DNA-damaging agents causes the localization of prohibitin to specific heterochromatic foci. Prohibitin could bind to heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family proteins and colocalized with HP1gamma in senescence-associated heterochromatic foci. Further, HP1gamma could synergize with prohibitin to repress E2F1-mediated transcriptional activity. The depletion of prohibitin by small interfering RNA or antisense techniques led to a reduction in the senescent phenotype, correlating with a reduced expression of senescence-associated beta-galactosidase and fewer numbers of senescence-associated heterochromatic foci. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that prohibitin is needed for the recruitment of HP1gamma to E2F1-regulated proliferative promoters, leading to their repression. The ablation of prohibitin prevented the recruitment of HPIgamma, but not Suv39H, to the promoters upon senescence. Prohibitin-mediated recruitment of HP1gamma occurred in only senescent cells, not in quiescent cells; thus, there is a dichotomy in the recruitment of different corepressors by prohibitin, depending on the type of growth arrest. These studies show that prohibitin plays a vital role in inducing cellular senescence.

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