FOXO3a acts to suppress DNA double-strand break-induced mutations

Ryan R. White, Alexander Y. Maslov, Moonsook Lee, Samantha E. Wilner, Matthew Levy, Jan Vijg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Genomic instability is one of the hallmarks of aging, and both DNA damage and mutations have been found to accumulate with age in different species. Certain gene families, such as sirtuins and the FoxO family of transcription factors, have been shown to play a role in lifespan extension. However, the mechanism(s) underlying the increased longevity associated with these genes remains largely unknown and may involve the regulation of responses to cellular stressors, such as DNA damage. Here, we report that FOXO3a reduces genomic instability in cultured mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) treated with agents that induce DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), that is, clastogens. We show that DSB treatment of both primary human and mouse fibroblasts upregulates FOXO3a expression. FOXO3a ablation in MEFs harboring the mutational reporter gene lacZ resulted in an increase in genome rearrangements after bleomycin treatment; conversely, overexpression of human FOXO3a was found to suppress mutation accumulation in response to bleomycin. We also show that overexpression of FOXO3a in human primary fibroblasts decreases DSB-induced γH2AX foci. Knocking out FOXO3a in mES cells increased the frequency of homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining events. These results provide the first direct evidence that FOXO3a plays a role in suppressing genome instability, possibly by suppressing genome rearrangements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13184
JournalAging cell
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • DNA damage
  • DSB repair
  • FOXO3a
  • aging
  • bleomycin
  • mutations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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