Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is caused by the accumulation of mutant prelamin A (progerin) in the nuclear lamina, resulting in increased nuclear stiffness and abnormal nuclear architecture. Nuclear mechanics are tightly coupled to cytoskeletal mechanics via lamin A/C. However, the role of cytoskeletal/nuclear mechanical properties in mediating cellular senescence and the relationship between cytoskeletal stiffness, nuclear abnormalities, and senescent phenotypes remain largely unknown. Here, using muscle-derived mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) from the Zmpste24−/− (Z24−/−) mouse (a model for HGPS) and human HGPS fibroblasts, we investigated the mechanical mechanism of progerin-induced cellular senescence, involving the role and interaction of mechanical sensors RhoA and Sun1/2 in regulating F-actin cytoskeleton stiffness, nuclear blebbing, micronuclei formation, and the innate immune response. We observed that increased cytoskeletal stiffness and RhoA activation in progeria cells were directly coupled with increased nuclear blebbing, Sun2 expression, and micronuclei-induced cGAS-Sting activation, part of the innate immune response. Expression of constitutively active RhoA promoted, while the inhibition of RhoA/ROCK reduced cytoskeletal stiffness, Sun2 expression, the innate immune response, and cellular senescence. Silencing of Sun2 expression by siRNA also repressed RhoA activation, cytoskeletal stiffness and cellular senescence. Treatment of Zmpste24−/− mice with a RhoA inhibitor repressed cellular senescence and improved muscle regeneration. These results reveal novel mechanical roles and correlation of cytoskeletal/nuclear stiffness, RhoA, Sun2, and the innate immune response in promoting aging and cellular senescence in HGPS progeria.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by grants from the NIH (PO1AG043376 and RO1AR065445 to JH, PDR, and LJN, P01AG062412 and U19AG056278 to PDR and LJN and R01HL133254 to JPC); by funding from the Progeria Research Foundation (to JPC) and by funding from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. We also thank Dr. Mary Hall and Dr. Lavanya Rajagopalan for editorial assistance while completing this manuscript.
- accelerated aging
- cell nucleus
- cellular senescence
- skeletal muscle
- stem cells