TGF-β and NF-κB signaling pathway crosstalk potentiates corneal epithelial senescence through an RNA stress response

The corneal epithelium plays important roles in the maintenance of corneal transparency for good vision, and acts as a protective barrier against foreign insults. Structural and functional changes with aging in the corneal epithelium have been documented. Here we found that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is highly expressed in the elderly donor corneal epithelium, as are senescence-associated genes, such as p16 and p21. In human corneal epithelial cell (HCEC) models, TGF-β induces cellular senescence, characterized by increased SA-β-gal positive cells and elevated expression of p16 and p21. Pharmacological inhibition of TGF-β signaling alleviates TGF-β-induced cellular senescence. In addition, we determined that senescence-associated inflammation was significantly aggravated in TGF-β-induced cellular senescence by detecting the expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Both genetic and pharmacological approaches revealed that blocking nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling not only inhibited the production of inflammatory factors, but also rescued the senescent phenotype induced by TGF-β in HCECs. Mechanistically, TGF-β induced an atypical RNA stress responses, leading to accelerated mRNA degradation of IκBα, an inhibitor of NF-κB. Together, our data indicate that TGF-β-driven NF-κB activation contributes to corneal epithelial senescence via RNA metabolism and the inflammation blockade can attenuate TGF-β-induced senescence.

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S2805 LY364947 LY364947 (HTS 466284) is a potent ATP-competitive inhibitor of TGFβR-I with IC50 of 59 nM in a cell-free assay, shows 7-fold selectivity over TGFβR-II. (35) (5)

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