Molecular genetic studies of cellular senescence

O. M. Pereira-Smith, Y. Ning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The limited doubling potential of normal cells in culture was first proposed as a model for cellular aging by Hayflick in 1961. This phenomenon of in vitro cellular senescence is now well documented for a number of different normal human cell types. In an attempt to determine whether random events or programmed genetic processes were responsible for cellular aging, we performed a series of cell fusion studies. We determined that hybrids from fusion of normal with immortal human cells had limited proliferative potential, indicating that senescence is a dominant phenotype. We exploited the fact that immortality was recessived to assign a large number of different immortal human cell lines to four complementation groups for indefinite division. More recently, we have determined that the introduction of a single normal human chromosome 4 into HeLa (cervical carcinoma) cells by microcell fusion induced senescence in this immortal line. The results of these whole cell and microcell fusion studies support the hypotheses that propose senescence results from active, genetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-522
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1992


  • HeLa
  • cell fusion
  • cellular aging
  • limited doubling potential
  • senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular genetic studies of cellular senescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this