Located on chromosome 9p21.3, p16INK4a seems lost amongst a cluster of neighboring tumor suppressor genes. While best known for inhibiting cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) activity, p16INK4a is not a one trick pony. Long term p16INK4a expression pushes cells to enter senescence, an irreversible cell cycle arrest that prevents the growth of would-be cancer cells, but also contributes to aging. Loss of p16INK4a is one of the most frequent events in human tumors and allows pre-cancerous lesions to bypass senescence…
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