Id1 regulation of cellular senescence through transcriptional repression of p16/Ink4a

Rhoda M. Alani, Alison Z. Young, Clinton B. Shifflett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


The Id family of helix-loop-helix (HLH) transcriptional regulatory proteins does not possess a basic DNA-binding domain and functions as a negative regulator of basic HLH transcription factors. Id proteins coordinate cell growth and differentiation pathways within mammalian cells and have been shown to regulate G1-S cell-cycle transitions. Although much recent data has implicated Id1 in playing a critical role in modulating cellular senescence, no direct genetic evidence has been reported to substantiate such work. Here we show that Id1-null primary mouse embryo fibroblasts undergo premature senescence despite normal growth profiles at early passage. These cells possess increased expression of the tumor-suppressor protein p16/Ink4a but not p19/ARF, and have decreased cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) 2 and cdk4 kinase activity. We also show that Id1 is able to directly inhibit p16/Ink4a but not p19/ARF promoter activity via its HLH domain, and that Id1inhibits transcriptional activation at E-boxes within the p16/Ink4a promoter. Our data provide, to our knowledge, the first genetic evidence for a role for Id1 as an inhibitor of cellular senescence and suggest that Id1 functions to delay cellular senescence through repression of p16/Ink4a. Because epigenetic and genetic abrogation of p16/Ink4a function has been implicated in the evolution of several human malignancies, we propose that transcriptional regulation of p16/Ink4a may also provide a mechanism for the dysregulation of normal cellular growth controls during the evolution of human malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7812-7816
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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