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Genes Dev. 1998 Oct 1;12(19):3008-19.

Premature senescence involving p53 and p16 is activated in response to constitutive MEK/MAPK mitogenic signaling.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


Oncogenic Ras transforms immortal rodent cells to a tumorigenic state, in part, by constitutively transmitting mitogenic signals through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. In primary cells, Ras is initially mitogenic but eventually induces premature senescence involving the p53 and p16(INK4a) tumor suppressors. Constitutive activation of MEK (a component of the MAPK cascade) induces both p53 and p16, and is required for Ras-induced senescence of normal human fibroblasts. Furthermore, activated MEK permanently arrests primary murine fibroblasts but forces uncontrolled mitogenesis and transformation in cells lacking either p53 or INK4a. The precisely opposite response of normal and immortalized cells to constitutive activation of the MAPK cascade implies that premature senescence acts as a fail-safe mechanism to limit the transforming potential of excessive Ras mitogenic signaling. Consequently, constitutive MAPK signaling activates p53 and p16 as tumor suppressors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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