Combining high-content imaging and phenotypic classification analysis of senescence-associated beta-galactosidase staining to identify regulators of oncogene-induced senescence

Keefe T Chan, Lassi Paavolainen, Katherine M Hannan, Amee J. George, Ross D. Hannan, Kaylene J Simpson, Peter Horvath, Richard B. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hyperactivation of the PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 signaling pathway is a hallmark of the majority of sporadic human cancers. Paradoxically, chronic activation of this pathway in nontransformed cells promotes senescence, which acts as a significant barrier to malignant progression. Understanding how this oncogene-induced senescence is maintained in nontransformed cells and conversely how it is subverted in cancer cells will provide insight into cancer development and potentially identify novel therapeutic targets. High-throughput screening provides a powerful platform for target discovery. Here, we describe an approach to use RNAi transfection of a pre-established AKT-induced senescent cell population and subsequent high-content imaging to screen for senescence regulators. We have incorporated multiparametric readouts, including cell number, proliferation, and senescence-associated beta-galactosidase (SA-βGal) staining. Using machine learning and automated image analysis, we also describe methods to classify distinct phenotypes of cells with SA-βGal staining. These methods can be readily adaptable to high-throughput functional screens interrogating the mechanisms that maintain and prevent senescence in various contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-428
Number of pages13
JournalASSAY and Drug Development Technologies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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