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Dev Genet. 1996;18(2):161-72.

The helix-loop-helix protein Id-1 and a retinoblastoma protein binding mutant of SV40 T antigen synergize to reactivate DNA synthesis in senescent human fibroblasts.

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Department of Cancer Biology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.


Normal somatic cells of higher organisms do not divide indefinitely. After a finite number of divisions, normal cells irreversibly cease proliferation by a process termed replicative or cellular senescence. Replicative senescence is controlled by multiple, dominant-acting genes about which very little is known. The only genes known to reactivate DNA synthesis in senescent cells are viral oncogenes encoding proteins that bind and inactivate the p53 and retinoblastoma (pRb) tumor suppressor proteins. SV40 T antigen is the best studied of these viral oncoproteins. T[K1] is a T antigen point mutant that selectively is defective in binding pRb and the pRb-related proteins p107 and p130. We show that T[K1] stimulated quiescent human fibroblasts to synthesize DNA nearly as well as wild-type T but was incapable of stimulating senescent cells. We tested several growth regulatory genes that are repressed in senescent cells for ability to restore activity to T[K1]. These included c-fos, c-jun, Id-1, Id-2, E2F-1, and cdc2. Only the helix-loop-helix (HLH) protein, Id-1, restored the ability of T[K1] to reactivate DNA synthesis in senescent cells. This activity of Id-1 was not shared by Id-2, a related protein, and depended on an intact HLH domain. It did not appear that Id-1 interacted directly with pRb or p107. Constitutive Id-1 expression failed to rescue proliferating cells from growth inhibition by pRb, p107, or p130, and failed to interact with pRb in the yeast two hybrid system. Because Id proteins negatively regulate basic-HLH (bHLH) transcription factors, we suggest that senescent cells express one or more bHLH factor that cooperates with pRb, or pRb-related proteins, to suppress proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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