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Mech Ageing Dev. 2001 Oct;122(15):1813-24.

Altered composition and DNA binding activity of the AP-1 transcription factor during the ageing of human fibroblasts.

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School of Health Sciences, Molecular Gerontology Unit, University of Sunderland, Fleming Building, Wharncliffe Street, Sunderland SR1 3SD, UK.


We have investigated the expression of AP-1 transcription factor proteins during the in-vitro ageing of human fibroblasts. The numbers of these cells that are in the cell cycle gradually decreases up to 45 cumulative population doublings (cPD), thereafter the decline is steeper, until almost all cells enter a post-mitotic state by 60 cPD. We observed that a 34 kd junB species began to replace the 44 kd junB species after 41 cPD. This was followed, after 44 cPD, by a loss of fra1 and both junD species. After 49 cPD there was a gradual decline in the levels of fos and jun proteins, but disproportionately, so that the fos/jun protein ratio also declined. Although fos and jun proteins were still clearly present at 60 cPD, utilisation of the AP-1 DNA consensus sequence could not be demonstrated after 54 cPD. These data indicate that significant changes occur in the composition of the AP-1 transcription factor during ageing, but also that alterations in its DNA binding activity may involve other factors.

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