One of the manifestations of aging is the accumulation of damage at both cellular and organism levels. Genotoxic stress plays an important role in aging and age-related diseases such as emphysema, which is caused by a failure of lung maintenance and repair after sustained oxidative stress. Cigarette smoke represents a source of oxidants and is considered an environmental hazard that causes pulmonary emphysema. Premature senescence is believed to contribute to genotoxic stress-induced emphysema. The tumor suppressor protein p53 is a key regulator of premature senescence and is activated by the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase when the ATM inhibitor protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) dissociates from ATM after genotoxic stress. The mechanism underlying PP2A-C removal from ATM upon genotoxic stress remains totally unexplored. In addition, the role that the ATM/p53 pathway plays in cigarette smoke-induced cellular senescence and the pathogenesis of emphysema remains largely unknown. Here, we plan to test the hypothesis that the lipid raft protein caveolin-1 mediates stress-induced premature senescence by promoting ATM-dependent activation of p53 through sequestration of the ATM inhibitor PP2A-C into caveolae. In addition, it is hypothesized that caveolin-1 plays a central role in oxidant-promoted emphysema in vivo through induction of cellular senescence. This hypothesis will be tested by pursuing three specific aims:
Specific Aim 1 : Investigate the role of caveolin-1 in PP2A-mediated regulation of ATM function after genotoxic stress.
Specific Aim 2 : Determine the functional consequences of loss of caveolin-1 expression on ATM-mediated p53 activation and premature senescence.
Specific Aim 3 : Define the role of caveolin-1 in genotoxic stress-induced pulmonary emphysema in vivo. These studies will provide novel insights into the signaling machinery that links genotoxic stress to cellular senescence and propose caveolin-1 as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of age-related diseases such as emphysema.

Public Health Relevance

Oxidative stress, including cigarette smoke, promotes premature cellular senescence, which is believed to have an important role in the more complicated aging process, and contributes to age-related diseases like emphysema. The molecular mechanisms underlying cigarette smoke-induced emphysema are not fully understood. Our studies will test the hypothesis that the protein caveolin-1 is a novel regulator of stress-induced cellular senescence and emphysema, and propose caveolin-1 as an alternative therapeutic target for the treatment of age-related diseases such as emphysema.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Cellular Mechanisms in Aging and Development Study Section (CMAD)
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Velazquez, Jose M
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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