NF-κB is a transcription factor activated in response to inflammatory, genotoxic and oxidative stress and important for driving senescence and aging. Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase, a core component of DNA damage response signaling, activates NF-κB in response to genotoxic and oxidative stress via post-translational modifications. Here we demonstrate that ATM is activated in senescent cells in culture and murine tissues from Ercc1-deficient mouse models of accelerated aging, as well as naturally aged mice. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of ATM reduced activation of NF-κB and markers of senescence and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in senescent Ercc1-/- MEFs. Ercc1-/Δ mice heterozygous for Atm have reduced NF-κB activity and cellular senescence, improved function of muscle-derived stem/progenetor cells (MDSPCs) and extended healthspan with reduced age-related pathology especially age-related bone and intervertebral disc pathologies. In addition, treatment of Ercc1-/∆ mice with the ATM inhibitor KU-55933 suppressed markers of senescence and SASP. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the ATM kinase is a major mediator of DNA damage-induced, NF-κB-mediated cellular senescence, stem cell dysfunction and aging and thus represents a therapeutic target to slow the progression of aging.
- DNA damage response
- cellular senescence