Question 27 - Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Practice Test for the MCAT

p53 acts at the G1 checkpoint. If genetic mutations are found, p53 will not allow the cell to proceed to the next step of the cell cycle, which would be ____. (You may consult the attached passage and graphic.)

The Cell Cycle

The cell cycle is an ordered series of events involving cell growth and cell division that produces two new daughter cells. Cells on the path to cell division proceed through a series of precisely timed and carefully regulated stages of growth, DNA replication, and division that produces two identical (clone) cells. The cell cycle has two major phases: interphase and the mitotic phase. During interphase, the cell grows and DNA is replicated. During the mitotic phase, the replicated DNA and cytoplasmic contents are separated, and the cell divides.

In a study on cell division, researchers culture synchronously dividing human cells with thymidine. This causes the cells to arrest at the G1G1 boundary. The cells are then placed in medium lacking thymidine, which releases the block, and the cells begin to divide again. Starting with Sample A and ending with Sample D, the DNA content of the cells is measured at different times after thymidine is removed. Results for four samples (A-D) are shown in the graph.

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS1) is a rare hereditary disorder that leads to a predisposition to cancer. This hereditary disorder is linked to mutations in the tumor suppressor gene encoding the transcription factor p53. p53 acts at the G1 checkpoint. If damaged DNA is detected, p53 halts the cell cycle. As p53 levels rise, the production of p21 is triggered. p21 enforces the halt in the cell cycle. A variant of Li-Fraumeni, called LFS2, is thought to occur due to a mutation of the CHK2 gene, which is also a tumor suppressor gene. CHK2 regulates the action of p53.


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