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EMBO J. 2000 Sep 1;19(17):4665-75.

Inhibition of the mammalian transcription factor LSF induces S-phase-dependent apoptosis by downregulating thymidylate synthase expression.

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  • 1Committee on Virology and Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Division of Molecular Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The thymidylate synthase (TS) gene, which is induced at the G(1)-S transition in growth-stimulated cells, encodes an enzyme that is essential for DNA replication and cell survival. Here we demonstrate that LSF (LBP-1c, CP2) binds to sites within the TS promoter and intronic regions that are required for this induction. Mutation of the LSF binding sites inhibits G(1)-S induction of mRNA derived from a TS minigene. Furthermore, expression of dominant-negative LSF (LSFdn) prevents the increase in TS enzyme levels during G(1)-S, and induces apoptosis in growth- stimulated mouse and human cell lines. Such apoptosis can be prevented either by circumventing the TS requirement through addition of low concentrations of thymidine, or by coexpression of the TS gene driven by a heterologous promoter. Induction of apoptosis by LSFdn parallels the process known as thymineless death, which is induced by the TS inhibitor and chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorodeoxyuridine. Thus, LSF is a novel regulatory factor that supports progression through S-phase by targeting a single gene that is critical for cell survival.

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