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EMBO J. May 15, 1997; 16(10): 2814–2825.
PMCID: PMC1169890

Regulation of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest by Zac1, a novel zinc finger protein expressed in the pituitary gland and the brain.


The proliferation rate of a cell population reflects a balance between cell division, cell cycle arrest, differentiation and apoptosis. The regulation of these processes is central to development and tissue homeostasis, whereas dysregulation may lead to overt pathological outcomes, notably cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. We report here the cloning of a novel zinc finger protein which regulates apoptosis and cell cycle arrest and was accordingly named Zac1. In vitro Zac1 inhibited proliferation of tumor cells, as evidenced by measuring colony formation, growth rate and cloning in soft agar. In vivo Zac1 abrogated tumor formation in nude mice. The antiproliferative activity of Zac1 was due to induction of extensive apoptosis and of G1 arrest, which proceeded independently of retinoblastoma protein and of regulation of p21(WAF1/Cip1), p27Kip1, p57Kip2 and p16INK4a expression. Zac1-mediated apoptosis was unrelated to cell cycle phase and G1 arrest was independent of apoptosis, indicating separate control of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Zac1 is thus the first gene besides p53 which concurrently induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.

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