Oxidative stress induces premature senescence by stimulating caveolin-1 gene transcription through p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase/Sp1-mediated activation of two GC-rich promoter elements

Arvind Dasari, Janine N. Bartholomew, Daniela Volonte, Ferruccio Galbiati

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143 Scopus citations


Cellular senescence is believed to represent a natural tumor suppressor mechanism. We have previously shown that upregulation of caveolin-1 was required for oxidative stress-induced premature senescence in fibroblasts. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying caveolin-1 up-regulation in senescent cells remain unknown. Here, we show that subcytotoxic oxidative stress generated by hydrogen peroxide application promotes premature senescence and stimulates the activity of a (-1,296) caveolin-1 promoter reporter gene construct in fibroblasts. Functional deletion analysis mapped the oxidative stress response elements of the mouse caveolin-1 promoter to the sequences -244/-222 and -124/-101. The hydrogen peroxide-mediated activation of both Cav-1 (-244/ -222) and Cav-1 (-124/-101) was prevented by the antioxidant quercetin. Combination of electrophoretic mobility shift studies, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis, Sp1 overexpression experiments, as well as promoter mutagenesis identifies enhanced Sp1 binding to two GC-boxes at -238/ -231 and -118/-106 as the core mechanism of oxidative stress-triggered caveolin-1 transactivation. In addition, signaling studies show p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) as the upstream regulator of Sp1-mediated activation of the caveolin-1 promoter following oxidative stress. Inhibition of p38 MAPK prevents the oxidant-induced Sp1-mediated up-regulation of caveolin-1 protein expression and development of premature senescence. Finally, we show that oxidative stress induces p38-mediated up-regulation of caveolin-1 and premature senescence in normal human mammary epithelial cells but not in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, which do not express caveolin-1 and undergo apoptosis. This study delineates for the first time the molecular mechanisms that modulate caveolin-1 gene transcription upon oxidative stress and brings new insights into the redox control of cellular senescence in both normal and cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10805-10814
Number of pages10
JournalCancer research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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