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Cancer Res. 1995 Feb 1;55(3):668-74.

p53-independent induction of WAF1/CIP1 in human leukemia cells is correlated with growth arrest accompanying monocyte/macrophage differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Neuro-Oncology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


The p53 tumor suppressor gene plays a role in controlling a G1 phase checkpoint. The WAF1/CIP1 gene with encodes p21WAF1/CIP1 protein, an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases, is a downstream mediator of p53 function. We examined expression of the WAF1/CIP1 gene and its relationship to growth arrest and differentiation in p53-null human leukemic cell lines. We show that p53-independent induction of WAF1/CIP1 occurs in human leukemia cells treated with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, okadaic acid, or IFN-gamma but not with retinoic acid, vitamin D3, or DMSO. Furthermore, WAF1/CIP1 induction correlates with growth arrest associated with monocyte-macrophage differentiation. The present studies support the idea that WAF1/CIP1 gene expression can be regulated through multiple mechanisms, suggesting that strategies may be designed to restore the G1 checkpoint controls in p53-null cells by targeting these p53-independent mechanisms of WAF1/CIP1 induction.

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