Selenoprotein H suppresses cellular senescence through genome maintenance and redox regulation

Ryan T Y Wu, Lei Cao, Benjamin P C Chen, Wen Hsing Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress and persistent DNA damage response contribute to cellular senescence, a degeneration process critically involving ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) and p53. Selenoprotein H (SelH), a nuclear selenoprotein, is proposed to carry redox and transactivation domains. To determine the role of SelH in genome maintenance, shRNA knockdown was employed in human normal and immortalized cell lines. SelH shRNA MRC-5 diploid fibroblasts under ambient O2 displayed a distinct profile of senescence including β-galactosidase expression, autofluorescence, growth inhibition, and ATM pathway activation. Such senescence phenotypes were alleviated in the presence of ATM kinase inhibitors, by p53 shRNA knockdown, or by maintaining the cells under 3% O2. During the course of 5-day recovery, the induction of phospho-ATM on Ser-1981 and γH2AX by H2O2 treatment (20 μM) subsided in scrambled shRNA but exacerbated in SelH shRNA MRC-5 cells. Results from clonogenic assays demonstrated hypersensitivity of SelH shRNA HeLa cells to paraquat and H2O2, but not to hydroxyurea, neocarzinostatin, or camptothecin. While SelH mRNA expression was induced by H2O2 treatment, SelH-GFP did not mobilize to sites of oxidative DNA damage. The glutathione level was lower in SelH shRNA than scrambled shRNA HeLa cells, and the H2O2-induced cell death was rescued in the presence of N-acetylcysteine, a glutathione precursor. Altogether, SelH protects against cellular senescence to oxidative stress through a genome maintenance pathway involving ATM and p53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34378-34388
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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