It is with great sadness that we report the death of Gordon
Peters, a stalwart of the former LRI's Lincoln's Inn Fields
laboratories, from oesophageal cancer.
Gordon was an undergraduate at Aberdeen, completing his doctoral
thesis on T7 transcription with Richard Hayward at Edinburgh in
1974. He joined Robin Weiss' RNA Tumour Virus section at the ICRF
in early 1977, after postdoctoral work with Jim Dahlberg on the
priming mechanism of retrovirus reverse transcription. Here began
what was to be a long collaborative partnership and lifelong
friendship with Clive Dickson.
Studying transformation by mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV),
Gordon and Clive identified a common proviral integration locus,
int-2, later identified as FGF-3, as a mediator of MMTV-induced
transformation. Further study of the MMTV system allowed them to
uncover some of the first evidence for oncogene cooperation in an
animal model. They went on to demonstrate MuLV proviral insertions
at the cyclin D1 locus in mouse lymphomas, one of a number of
studies demonstrating that the cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 can
function as an oncogene.
Gordon built on this finding, devoting the rest of his career to
the study of cyclin dependent kinases and their inhibitors,
particularly the INK4a/ARF locus, and their role in transformation
and senescence. His studies of human INK4a-deficient cells
demonstrated that unlike in mice, senescence is dependent on INK4a
but not ARF. He retired in 2013.
Gordon was quietly spoken, rigorous and meticulous, and
throughout his time at LIF was a generous and supportive mentor to
many postdocs and grad students, both in his lab and others'. His
encyclopaedic knowledge of tumour virology, cell cycle regulation,
and oncogenesis meant that he was always in demand to provide an
opinion about any new or contentious finding, which he unfailingly
did in an objective manner, often leavened with his dry Scots