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Cell Regul. 1991 Aug;2(8):589-98.

Protein phosphatases and DNA tumor viruses: transformation through the back door?

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9041.


Cellular transformation by many oncogenic viruses is mediated by alterations in signal transduction pathways that control normal growth and proliferation. Common targets for many transforming viruses are pathways regulated by protein phosphorylation. The biochemical control of proteins in these pathways is a dynamic process that is regulated by the relative activities of protein kinases and phosphatases. Although there are numerous examples of viral oncogenes that encode protein kinases (Hunter, 1991), until recently there has been no evidence linking altered phosphatase activity to transformation. In this review we describe a novel mechanism, utilized by small DNA tumor viruses, in which viral oncogenes bind to and regulate a cellular protein serine/threonine phosphatase. The currently available evidence indicates that alteration of phosphatase activity and subsequent changes in phosphorylation levels is an important step in transformation by these viruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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