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4.8 - 28th January 1999


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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.

Bertram MJ, Berube NG, Hang-Swanson X, Ran Q, Leung JK, Bryce S, Spurgers K, Bick RJ, Baldini A, Ning Y, Clark LJ, Parkinson EK, Barrett JC, Smith JR, Pereira-Smith OM

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

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

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.


Senescence marker protein-30 (SMP30): structure and biological function.

Fujita T

Department of Molecular Pathology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Tokyo-, Itabashi-ku, 1730015, Japan.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1999 Jan 8;254(1):1-4

Senescence marker protein-30 (SMP30), which we previously identified, is notable for its androgen-independent decrease in the livers of aging rats. Hepatocytes and renal tubular epithelia express large amounts of SMP30 in their cytosol throughout the tissue-maturing process and adulthood, but its level decreases thereafter. Upon cloning cDNAs that encode SMP30 in rats, mice, and humans, we found that the amino acid sequence of SMP30 is well conserved with remarkable homology among these species. However, this gene, which is so strongly conserved in these higher animals, does not appear in yeast. We also determined the genome organization and 5' flanking region of SMP30 in mouse genome. In the meantime, SMP30 turned out be identical to a Ca2+-binding protein called regucalcin (RC). To learn how this protein functions, we transfected Hep G2 cells with human SMP30 cDNA so that these cells stably express large amounts of SMP30. The results suggest that SMP30 regulates Ca2+ homeostasis by enhancing Ca2+-pumping activity in the plasma membranes. Thus, SMP30 seems to play a critical role in the highly differentiated functions of the liver and kidney and to exert a major impact on Ca2+ homeostasis. If so, down-regulation of SMP30 with aging would attribute greatly to the related deterioration of these organs, as indicated in this brief overview of the structure, expression, and function of SMP30. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.


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