Global reorganization of the nuclear landscape in senescent cells

Chandra, T., Ewels, P. A., Schoenfelder, S., Furlan-Magaril, M., Wingett, S. W., Kirschner, K., … Reik, W. (2015). Global Reorganization of the Nuclear Landscape in Senescent Cells. Cell Reports, 10(4), 471–483. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.12.055


Cellular senescence has been implicated in tumor suppression, development, and aging and is accompanied by large-scale chromatin rearrangements, forming senescence-associated heterochromatic foci (SAHF). However, how the chromatin is reorganized during SAHF formation is poorly understood. Furthermore, heterochromatin formation in senescence appears to contrast with loss of heterochromatin in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria. We mapped architectural changes in genome organization in cellular senescence using Hi-C. Unexpectedly, we find a dramatic sequence- and lamin-dependent loss of local interactions in heterochromatin. This change in local connectivity resolves the paradox of opposing chromatin changes in senescence and progeria. In addition, we observe a senescence-specific spatial clustering of heterochromatic regions, suggesting a unique second step required for SAHF formation. Comparison of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), somatic cells, and senescent cells shows a unidirectional loss in local chromatin connectivity, suggesting that senescence is an endpoint of the continuous nuclear remodelling process during differentiation.

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