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Cell. 2003 Jan 24;112(2):181-92.

Liver tumor development. c-Jun antagonizes the proapoptotic activity of p53.

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Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Dr. Bohrgasse 7, A-1030, Vienna, Austria.


The transcription factor c-Jun mediates several cellular processes, including proliferation and survival, and is upregulated in many carcinomas. Liver-specific inactivation of c-Jun at different stages of tumor development was used to study its role in chemically induced hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) in mice. The requirement for c-jun was restricted to early stages of tumor development, and the number and size of hepatic tumors was dramatically reduced when c-jun was inactivated after the tumor had initiated. The impaired tumor development correlated with increased levels of p53 and its target gene noxa, resulting in the induction of apoptosis without affecting cell proliferation. Primary hepatocytes lacking c-Jun showed increased sensitivity to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis, which was abrogated in the absence of p53. These data indicate that c-Jun prevents apoptosis by antagonizing p53 activity, illustrating a mechanism that might contribute to the early stages of human HCC development.

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