A cellular protein that competes with SV40 T antigen for binding to the retinoblastoma gene product

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TUMOUR-suppressor genes, such as the human retinoblastoma susceptibility gene (Rb), are widely recognized as being vital in the control of cell growth and tumour formation1. This role is indicated, in part, by the suppression of tumorigenicity of human tumour cells after retrovirus-mediated Rb replacement2–4. How Rb acts to bring about this suppression is not clear5 but one clue is that the Rb protein forms complexes with the transforming oncoproteins of several DNA tumour viruses6–8, and that two regions of Rb essential for such binding frequently contain mutations in tumour cells9,10. These observations suggest that endogenous cellular proteins might exist that bind to the same regions of Rb and thereby mediate its function. We report here the identification of one such human cellular Rb-associated protein of relative molecular mass 46,000 (46K) (RbAP46). Two lines of evidence support the notion that RbAP46 and simian virus 40 T antigen have homologous Rb-binding properties: first, several mutated Rb proteins that failed to bind to T also did not associate with RbAP46; and second, both T antigen and T peptide (amino acids 101–118) were able to compete with RbAP46 for binding to Rb. The apparent targeting of the RbAP46–Rb interaction by oncoproteins of DNA tumour viruses strongly suggests that formation of this complex is functionally important.

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Huang, S., Lee, W. & Lee, E. A cellular protein that competes with SV40 T antigen for binding to the retinoblastoma gene product. Nature 350, 160–162 (1991) doi:10.1038/350160a0

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