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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Id1 regulation of cellular senescence through transcriptional repression of p16/Ink4a.

The Id family of helix-loop-helix (HLH) transcriptional regulatory proteins does not possess a basic DNA-binding domain and functions as a negative regulator of basic HLH transcription factors. Id proteins coordinate cell growth and differentiation pathways within mammalian cells and have been shown to regulate G(1)-S cell-cycle transitions. Although much recent data has implicated Id1 in playing a critical role in modulating cellular senescence, no direct genetic evidence has been reported to substantiate such work. Here we show that Id1-null primary mouse embryo fibroblasts undergo premature senescence despite normal growth profiles at early passage. These cells possess increased expression of the tumor-suppressor protein p16/Ink4a but not p19/ARF, and have decreased cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) 2 and cdk4 kinase activity. We also show that Id1 is able to directly inhibit p16/Ink4a but not p19/ARF promoter activity via its HLH domain, and that Id1 inhibits transcriptional activation at E-boxes within the p16/Ink4a promoter. Our data provide, to our knowledge, the first genetic evidence for a role for Id1 as an inhibitor of cellular senescence and suggest that Id1 functions to delay cellular senescence through repression of p16/Ink4a. Because epigenetic and genetic abrogation of p16/Ink4a function has been implicated in the evolution of several human malignancies, we propose that transcriptional regulation of p16/Ink4a may also provide a mechanism for the dysregulation of normal cellular growth controls during the evolution of human malignancies.[1]


  1. Id1 regulation of cellular senescence through transcriptional repression of p16/Ink4a. Alani, R.M., Young, A.Z., Shifflett, C.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2001) [Pubmed]
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