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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate diverse genetic expression networks through their control of mRNA stability or translation. Their role in aging mechanisms has been proposed in various model systems. In this report, the expression profiling of 462 human miRNAs in the reversible growth arrest state of quiescence, and irreversible states of replicative senescence and hydrogen peroxide-induced premature senescence, are compared to young replicating lung fibroblasts. Greater numbers of up-regulated than down-regulated miRNAs are observed when cells stop proliferating, particularly in premature senescence, somewhat less in replicative senescence, and less still in quiescence. Several altered miRNA expressions are shared by the three growth arrest states, including the up-regulation of miR-34a, -624, -638 and miR-377, and the down-regulation of miR-365 and miR-512-5p. miRNAs up-regulated in both permanent growth arrest states but not in quiescence include let-7g, miR-26a, -136, -144, -195 and miR-200b. In each of the growth arrest states, miR-34a and let-7f have the most robust up-regulation in H2O2-induced premature senescence, followed by miR-638 and miR-663 in replicative senescence, and finally, miR-331-3p and miR-595 in quiescence. Our comprehensive evaluation of miRNA target correlations with known biomarkers for replicative senescence suggests that miRNAs may repress pathways controlling not only cell cycle traverse and proliferation, but also insulin-like signaling, DNA repair and apoptosis, all of which are cellular functions deficient in senescent human fibroblasts. J. Cell. Physiol. 221: 109–119, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc