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Mol Cell. 2010 May 28;38(4):539-50. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.03.015.

The ARF tumor suppressor controls ribosome biogenesis by regulating the RNA polymerase I transcription factor TTF-I.

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Cancer Research Centre, Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry, and Pathology of Laval University, CHUQ Research Centre, Québec, Québec, Canada.


The p14/p19(ARF) (ARF) product of the CDKN2A gene displays tumor suppressor activity both in the presence and absence of p53/TP53. In p53-negative cells, ARF arrests cell proliferation, at least in part, by suppressing ribosomal RNA synthesis. We show that ARF does this by controlling the subnuclear localization of the RNA polymerase I transcription termination factor, TTF-I. TTF-I shuttles between nucleoplasm and nucleolus with the aid of the chaperone NPM/B23 and a nucleolar localization sequence within its N-terminal regulatory domain. ARF inhibits nucleolar import of TTF-I by binding to this nucleolar localization sequence, causing the accumulation of TTF-I in the nucleoplasm. Depletion of TTF-I recapitulates the effects of ARF on ribosomal RNA synthesis and is rescued by the introduction of a TTF-I transgene. Thus, our data delineate the pathway by which ARF regulates ribosomal RNA synthesis and provide a compelling explanation for the role of NPM.

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