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Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Feb;19(2):1479-85.

Identification of a gene that reverses the immortal phenotype of a subset of cells and is a member of a novel family of transcription factor-like genes.

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Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Center on Aging, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Based on the dominance of cellular senescence over immortality, immortal human cell lines have been assigned to four complementation groups for indefinite division. Human chromosomes carrying senescence genes have been identified, including chromosome 4. We report the cloning and identification of a gene, mortality factor 4 (MORF 4), which induces a senescent-like phenotype in immortal cell lines assigned to complementation group B with concomitant changes in two markers for senescence. MORF 4 is a member of a novel family of genes with transcription factor-like motifs. We present here the sequences of the seven family members, their chromosomal locations, and a partial characterization of the three members that are expressed. Elucidation of the mechanism of action of these genes should enhance our understanding of growth regulation and cellular aging.

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