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Cell Death Dis. 2015 Oct 15;6:e1902. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.218.

RAC3 more than a nuclear receptor coactivator: a key inhibitor of senescence that is downregulated in aging.

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Laboratorio de Biología Molecular y Apoptosis, Instituto de Investigaciones Médicas Alfredo Lanari, IDIM-CONICET, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Combatientes de Malvinas 3150, Buenos Aires C1427ARO, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Oncología Molecular, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, R. Sáenz Peña 352, Bernal, Buenos Aires B1876BXD Argentina.


Receptor-associated coactivator 3 (RAC3) is a nuclear receptor coactivator usually overexpressed in tumors that exerts oncogenic functions in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Although as part of its oncogenic actions it was previously identified as an inhibitor of apoptosis and autophagy, its expression is required in order to preserve the pluripotency and embryonic stem cell self-renewal. In this work we investigated its role in cellular senescence. We found that RAC3 overexpression in the nontumoral HEK293 cells inhibits the premature senescence induced by hydrogen peroxide or rapamycin. The mechanism involves not only the inhibition of autophagy early induced by these stimuli in the pathway to senescence, but also the increase in levels and nuclear localization of both the cell cycle suppressors p53/p21 and the longevity promoters FOXO1A, FOXO3A and SIRT1. Furthermore, we found that RAC3 overexpression is required in order to maintain the telomerase activity. In tumoral HeLa cells its activity was inhibited by depletion of RAC3 inducing replicative senescence. Moreover, we demonstrated that in vivo, levels of RAC3 are downregulated in the liver from aged as compared with young rats, whereas the levels of p21 are increased, correlating with the expected senescent cell contents in aged tissues. A similar downregulation of RAC3 was observed in the premature and replicative senescence of human fetal WI-38 cells and premature senescence of hepatocyte HepG2 cell line. Taken together, all these results demonstrate that RAC3 is an inhibitor of senescence whose downregulation in aged individuals could be probably a tumor suppressor mechanism, avoiding the clonal expansion of risky old cells having damaged DNA.

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