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Mol Cell Biol. Oct 1989; 9(10): 4196–4203.
PMCID: PMC362498

Mammalian genes coordinately regulated by growth arrest signals and DNA-damaging agents.


More than 20 different cDNA clones encoding DNA-damage-inducible transcripts in rodent cells have recently been isolated by hybridization subtraction (A. J. Fornace, Jr., I. Alamo, Jr., and M. C. Hollander, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85:8800-8804, 1988). In most cells, one effect of DNA damage is the transient inhibition of DNA synthesis and cell growth. We now show that five of our clones encode transcripts that are increased by other growth cessation signals: growth arrest by serum reduction, medium depletion, contact inhibition, or a 24-h exposure to hydroxyurea. The genes coding for these transcripts have been designated gadd (growth arrest and DNA damage inducible). Two of the gadd cDNA clones were found to hybridize at high stringency to transcripts from human cells that were induced after growth cessation signals or treatment with DNA-damaging agents, which indicates that these responses have been conserved during mammalian evolution. In contrast to results with growth-arrested cells that still had the capacity to grow after removal of the growth arrest conditions, no induction occurred in HL60 cells when growth arrest was produced by terminal differentiation, indicating that only certain kinds of growth cessation signals induce these genes. All of our experiments suggest that the gadd genes are coordinately regulated: the kinetics of induction for all five transcripts were similar; in addition, overexpression of gadd genes was found in homozygous deletion c14CoS/c14CoS mice that are missing a small portion of chromosome 7, suggesting that a trans-acting factor encoded by a gene in this deleted portion is a negative effector of the gadd genes. The gadd genes may represent part of a novel regulatory pathway involved in the negative control of mammalian cell growth.

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