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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jul 8;94(14):7245-50.

Distinct roles for E2F proteins in cell growth control and apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


E2F transcription activity is composed of a family of heterodimers encoded by distinct genes. Through the overproduction of each of the five known E2F proteins in mammalian cells, we demonstrate that a large number of genes encoding proteins important for cell cycle regulation and DNA replication can be activated by the E2F proteins and that there are distinct specificities in the activation of these genes by individual E2F family members. Coexpression of each E2F protein with the DP1 heterodimeric partner does not significantly alter this specificity. We also find that only E2F1 overexpression induces cells to undergo apoptosis, despite the fact that at least two other E2F family members, E2F2 and E2F3, are equally capable of inducing S phase. The ability of E2F1 to induce apoptosis appears to result from the specific induction of an apoptosis-promoting activity rather than the lack of induction of a survival activity, because co-expression of E2F2 and E2F3 does not rescue cells from E2F1-mediated apoptosis. We conclude that E2F family members play distinct roles in cell cycle control and that E2F1 may function as a specific signal for the initiation of an apoptosis pathway that must normally be blocked for a productive proliferation event.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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