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J Cell Biochem. 2005 Dec 15;96(6):1127-36.

The fellowships of the INGs.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5020, USA.


The inhibitor of growth (ING) family of proteins is an evolutionarily conserved family, with members present from yeast to humans. The mammalian ING proteins are candidate tumor suppressor proteins and accordingly can cooperate with p53 to arrest proliferation and induce apoptosis. ING proteins are also reported to function in the promotion of cellular senescence, the regulation of DNA damage responses and the inhibition of angiogenesis. At the molecular level, ING proteins are thought to function as chromatin regulatory molecules, acting as co-factors for distinct histone and factor acetyl-transferase (H/FAT) and deacetylase (HDAC) enzyme complexes. Further, ING proteins interact with a number of additional proteins involved in the regulation of critical nuclear processes, such as gene expression and DNA replication, and also function as nuclear phosphoinositide (PtdInsP) receptors. Despite the increasing number of known molecular interacting partners for ING proteins, the specific biochemical action of mammalian ING proteins and its relationship to tumor suppression remain elusive. In this Prospect, we summarize the present understanding of the binding partners and physiologic roles of ING proteins and propose a general molecular paradigm for how ING proteins might function to prevent cancer.

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