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Genes Dev. 1999 Jul 1;13(13):1742-53.

p27(Kip1) induction and inhibition of proliferation by the intracellular Ah receptor in developing thymus and hepatoma cells.

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Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute of Genetics, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany.


The Ah receptor (AhR), a bHLH/PAS transcription factor, mediates dioxin toxicity in the immune system, skin, testis and liver. Toxic phenomena are associated with altered cell proliferation or differentiation, but signaling pathways of AhR in cell cycle regulation are poorly understood. Here we show that AhR induces the p27(Kip1) cyclin/cdk inhibitor by altering Kip1 transcription in a direct mode without the need for ongoing protein synthesis or cell proliferation. This is the first example of Kip1 being a direct transcriptional target of a toxic agent that affects cell proliferation. Kip1 causes dioxin-induced suppression of 5L hepatoma cell proliferation because Kip1 antisense-expressing cells are resistant to dioxins. Kip1 is also induced by dioxins in cultures of fetal thymus glands concomitant with inhibition of proliferation and severe reduction of thymocyte recovery. Kip1 expression is likely to mediate these effects as thymic glands of Kip1-deficient mice (Kip1(Delta51)) are largely, though not completely, resistant.

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