• aging;
  • cellular senescence;
  • nuclear pore complex;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • Sp1


Hyporesponsiveness to external signals, such as growth factors and apoptotic stimuli, is a cardinal feature of cellular senescence. We previously reported that an aging-dependent marked reduction in nucleocytoplasmic trafficking (NCT)-related genes could be responsible for this phenomenon. In searching for the mechanism, we identified the transcription factor, Sp1, as a common regulator of NCT genes, including various nucleoporins, importins, exportins, and Ran GTPase cycle-related genes. Sp1 knockdown led to a reduction of those genes in young human diploid fibroblast cells (HDF); Sp1 overexpression induced those genes in senescent cells. In addition, epidermal growth factor stimulation–induced p-ERK1/2 nuclear translocation and Elk-1 phosphorylation were severely impaired by Sp1 depletion in young HDFs; Sp1 overexpression restored the nuclear translocation of p-ERK1/2 in senescent HDFs. Furthermore, we observed that Sp1 protein levels were decreased in senescent cells, and H2O2 treatment decreased Sp1 levels in a proteasome-dependent manner. In addition, O-GlcNAcylation of Sp1 was decreased in senescent cells as well as in H2O2-treated cells. Taken together, these results suggest that Sp1 could be a key regulator in the control of NCT genes and that reactive oxygen species-mediated alteration in Sp1 stability may be responsible for the generalized repression of those genes, leading to formation of the senescence-dependent functional nuclear barrier, resulting in subsequent hyporesponsiveness to external signals.