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Mutat Res. 2005 Aug 25;576(1-2):22-38.

INK4a/ARF: a multifunctional tumor suppressor locus.

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Department of Medicine, The Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, 27599-7295, USA.


The INK4a/ARF locus encodes two physically linked tumor suppressor proteins, p16(INK4a) and ARF, which regulate the RB and p53 pathways, respectively. The unusual genomic relationship of the open reading frames of these proteins initially fueled speculation that only one of the two was the true tumor suppressor, and loss of the other merely coincidental in cancer. Recent human and mouse genetic data, however, have firmly established that both proteins possess significant in vivo tumor suppressor activity, although there appear to be species- and cell-type specific differences between the two. For example, ARF plays a clear role in preventing Myc-induced lymphomagenesis in mice, whereas the role for p16(INK4a) is human carcinomas is more firmly established. In this review, I discuss the evolutionary history of the locus, the relative importance of these tumor suppressor genes in human cancer, and recent information suggesting novel biochemical and physiologic functions of these proteins in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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