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Nat Cell Biol. 2009 Sep;11(9):1135-42. doi: 10.1038/ncb1928. Epub 2009 Aug 23.

p53 isoforms Delta133p53 and p53beta are endogenous regulators of replicative cellular senescence.

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Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4258, USA.


The finite proliferative potential of normal human cells leads to replicative cellular senescence, which is a critical barrier to tumour progression in vivo. We show that the human p53 isoforms Delta133p53 and p53beta function in an endogenous regulatory mechanism for p53-mediated replicative senescence. Induced p53beta and diminished Delta133p53 were associated with replicative senescence, but not oncogene-induced senescence, in normal human fibroblasts. The replicatively senescent fibroblasts also expressed increased levels of miR-34a, a p53-induced microRNA, the antisense inhibition of which delayed the onset of replicative senescence. The siRNA (short interfering RNA)-mediated knockdown of endogenous Delta133p53 induced cellular senescence, which was attributed to the regulation of p21(WAF1) and other p53 transcriptional target genes. In overexpression experiments, whereas p53beta cooperated with full-length p53 to accelerate cellular senescence, Delta133p53 repressed miR-34a expression and extended the cellular replicative lifespan, providing a functional connection of this microRNA to the p53 isoform-mediated regulation of senescence. The senescence-associated signature of p53 isoform expression (that is, elevated p53beta and reduced Delta133p53) was observed in vivo in colon adenomas with senescent phenotypes. The increased Delta133p53 and decreased p53beta isoform expression found in colon carcinoma may signal an escape from the senescence barrier during the progression from adenoma to carcinoma.

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