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As a universal inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases and one of the target genes of the tumor suppresser p53, p21Waf1/Cip1 can act as a tumor suppresser through its ability to control cell cycle progression. To study the function of p21Waf1/Cip1 protein and to investigate its tissue distribution, a panel of anti-p21Waf1/Cip1 monoclonal antibodies was generated. These anti-p21Waf1/Cip1 monoclonal antibodies were initially raised against a GST-p21Waf1/Cip1 fusion protein produced in bacteria. Detailed characterization of the antibodies showed that they can specifically detect p21Waf1/Cip1 by immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation, and immunostaining. The specific induction of p21Waf1/Cip1 expression in response to gamma-radiation in cells containing p53 was also detected by these antibodies. The ability to detect p21Waf1/Cip1 expression in conventionally fixed tissue sections allowed us to investigate the distribution of p21Waf1/Cip1 in 23 different types of normal human tissues, and p21Waf1/Cip1 expression was found in most tissues. A close inverse relationship between p21Waf1/Cip1 expression and proliferation was seen in some tissues, including gastrointestinal tract. However, such association is not universal. In tissues such as lung, kidney, thyroid, pancreatic ducts and acini, and liver, despite the fact that most of the cells are quiescent, expression of p21Waf1/Cip1 was detected only in occasional epithelial cells. All these suggest that the expression of p21Waf1/Cip1 varies among different human tissues. Finally, epitope mapping of the anti-p21Waf1/Cip1 antibodies using a peptide library covering the entire p21Waf1/Cip1 protein sequence indicates that two of the antibodies recognize a region of p21Waf1/Cip1 close to that bound by proliferating cell nuclear antigen. These two monoclonal antibodies will therefore be additionally useful in further understanding the functions of p21Waf1/Cip1 both in vitro and in vivo.


Journal article


Am J Pathol

Publication Date





825 - 835


Amino Acid Sequence, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21, Cyclins, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Immunoblotting, Immunochemistry, Molecular Sequence Data, Osteosarcoma, Precipitin Tests, Recombinant Proteins, Reference Values, Tumor Cells, Cultured