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Cancer Lett. 2002 Mar 8;177(1):83-7.

Altered composition of the AP-1 transcription factor in immortalized compared to normal proliferating cells.

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School of Sciences, University of Sunderland, Fleming Building, Wharncliffe Street, Sunderland, SR1 3SD, UK.


We have investigated the expression of the AP-1 transcription factor proteins, fos, fosB, fra1, fra2, jun, junB, junD, using Western blot analysis, in several types of asynchronously proliferating cells. The latter included normal fibroblasts, immortalized but not tumourigenic fibroblasts, and two immortalized tumour cell lines. All cells expressed fos, fra1 and jun proteins and none expressed fosB. There were, however, interesting qualitative differences between the normal fibroblasts and the immortalized cells. Expression of fra2 was difficult to detect in normal cells, but was very evident in all of the immortalized cells. The normal cells only expressed a 44 kDa junB species, whereas the immortalized cells expressed both this and another 34 kDa species. All of the cells expressed the two junD proteins but the smaller 39 kDa species was more prominent in the normal cells, whereas the larger 44 kDa protein was more prominent in the immortalized cells. These data indicate that immortalized cells are not simply cells in which the ageing process has been prevented or reversed, but instead exhibit additional characteristics to those associated with young normal cells.

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