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The Role of Chromatin Reorganization in the Process of Cellular Senescence

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Cellular senescence is a state of irreversible growth arrest and thought to be a tumor suppressive mechanism. In addition, it has been reported that cellular senescence may play an important role in wound healing, tissue remodeling, organismal aging and age-related diseases. This loss of ability to divide, associated with senescence, is induced by factors that are intrinsic, such as genetically defined pathways and telomere erosion, and extrinsic eg. DNA damage, oxidative stress, over-expression of oncogenes and inadequate growth conditions. The p53/p21 and RB/p16 pathways are key to the cell cycle arrest associated with cellular senescence. Extensive molecular changes occur when cells become senescent, as gene expression profiling of senescent versus young cells has demonstrated, and this is, in part, due to alterations in chromatin structure. Here, we review the molecular basis of the cell cycle arrest in cellular senescence, focusing on chromatin regulation. We also summarize our current knowledge of the role of cellular senescence in vivo.

Keywords: Cell cycle; Cellular Senescence; DNA damage response; aging; cell proliferation; chromatin; histone modification; immortalization; p16 CKI; p21 CKI

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-12-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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