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Keywords:

  • noncoding;
  • post-transcriptional gene regulation;
  • proliferation;
  • senescence-associated gene expression patterns;
  • transcriptome

Summary

Noncoding RNAs include small transcripts, such as microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs, and a wide range of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although many lncRNAs have been identified, only a small number of lncRNAs have been characterized functionally. Here, we sought to identify lncRNAs differentially expressed during replicative senescence. We compared lncRNAs expressed in proliferating, early-passage, ‘young’ human diploid WI-38 fibroblasts [population doubling (PDL) 20] with those expressed in senescent, late-passage, ‘old’ fibroblasts (PDL 52) by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Numerous transcripts in all lncRNA groups (antisense lncRNAs, pseudogene-encoded lncRNAs, previously described lncRNAs and novel lncRNAs) were validated using reverse transcription (RT) and real-time, quantitative (q)PCR. Among the novel senescence-associated lncRNAs (SAL-RNAs) showing lower abundance in senescent cells, SAL-RNA1 (XLOC_023166) was found to delay senescence, because reducing SAL-RNA1 levels enhanced the appearance of phenotypic traits of senescence, including an enlarged morphology, positive β-galactosidase activity, and heightened p53 levels. Our results reveal that the expression of known and novel lncRNAs changes with senescence and suggests that SAL-RNAs play direct regulatory roles in this important cellular process.