Pluripotent stem cells escape from senescence-associated DNA methylation changes


Pluripotent stem cells evade replicative senescence, whereas other primary cells lose their proliferation and differentiation potential after a limited number of cell divisions, and this is accompanied by specific senescence-associated DNA methylation (SA-DNAm) changes. Here, we investigate SA-DNAm changes in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) upon long-term culture, irradiation-induced senescence, immortalization, and reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) using high-density HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. SA-DNAm changes are highly reproducible and they are enriched in intergenic and nonpromoter regions of developmental genes. Furthermore, SA-hypomethylation in particular appears to be associated with H3K9me3, H3K27me3, and Polycomb-group 2 target genes. We demonstrate that ionizing irradiation, although associated with a senescence phenotype, does not affect SA-DNAm. Furthermore, overexpression of the catalytic subunit of the human telomerase (TERT) or conditional immortalization with a doxycycline-inducible system (TERT and SV40-TAg) result in telomere extension, but do not prevent SA-DNAm. In contrast, we demonstrate that reprogramming into iPSC prevents almost the entire set of SA-DNAm changes. Our results indicate that long-term culture is associated with an epigenetically controlled process that stalls cells in a particular functional state, whereas irradiation-induced senescence and immortalization are not causally related to this process. Absence of SA-DNAm in pluripotent cells may play a central role for their escape from cellular senescence.

Authors Koch CM, Reck K, Shao K, Lin Q, Joussen S, Ziegler P, Walenda G, Drescher W, Opalka B, May T, Brümmendorf T, Zenke M, Saric T, Wagner W
Journal Genome research
Publication Date 2013 Feb;23(2):248-59
PubMed 23080539
PubMed Central PMC3561866
DOI 10.1101/gr.141945.112

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