Defining the molecular mechanisms that coordinately regulate proliferation and differentiation is a central issue in development. Here, we describe a mechanism in which induction of the Ets repressor METS/PE1 links terminal differentiation to cell cycle arrest. Using macrophages as a model, we provide evidence that METS/PE1 blocks Ras-dependent proliferation without inhibiting Ras-dependent expression of cell type-specific genes by selectively replacing Ets activators on the promoters of cell cycle control genes. Antiproliferative effects of METS require its interaction with DP103, a DEAD box-containing protein that assembles a novel corepressor complex. Functional interactions between the METS/DP103 complex and E2F/ pRB family proteins are also necessary for inhibition of cellular proliferation, suggesting a combinatorial code that directs permanent cell cycle exit during terminal differentiation.
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