A systems biology dynamical model of mammalian G1 cell cycle progression.
ABSTRACT: The current dogma of G(1) cell-cycle progression relies on growth factor-induced increase of cyclin D:Cdk4/6 complex activity to partially inactivate pRb by phosphorylation and to sequester p27(Kip1)-triggering activation of cyclin E:Cdk2 complexes that further inactivate pRb. pRb oscillates between an active, hypophosphorylated form associated with E2F transcription factors in early G(1) phase and an inactive, hyperphosphorylated form in late G(1), S and G(2)/M phases. However, under constant growth factor stimulation, cells show constitutively active cyclin D:Cdk4/6 throughout the cell cycle and thereby exclude cyclin D:Cdk4/6 inactivation of pRb. To address this paradox, we developed a mathematical model of G(1) progression using physiological expression and activity profiles from synchronized cells exposed to constant growth factors and included a metabolically responsive, activating modifier of cyclin E:Cdk2. Our mathematical model accurately simulates G(1) progression, recapitulates observations from targeted gene deletion studies and serves as a foundation for development of therapeutics targeting G(1) cell-cycle progression.
Project description:Estrogens are required for the proliferation of hormone dependent breast cancer cells, making estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumors amenable to endocrine therapies such as antiestrogens. However, resistance to these agents remains a significant cause of treatment failure. We previously demonstrated that inactivation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) family tumor suppressors causes antiestrogen resistance in MCF-7 cells, a widely studied model of estrogen responsive human breast cancers. In this study, we investigate the mechanism by which pRb inactivation leads to antiestrogen resistance. Cdk4 and cdk2 are two key cell cycle regulators that can phosphorylate and inactivate pRb, therefore we tested whether these kinases are required in cells lacking pRb function. pRb family members were inactivated in MCF-7 cells by expressing polyomavirus large tumor antigen (PyLT), and cdk activity was inhibited using the cdk inhibitors p16(INK4A) and p21(Waf1/Cip1). Cdk4 activity was no longer required in cells lacking functional pRb, while cdk2 activity was required for proliferation in both the presence and absence of pRb function. Using inducible PyLT cell lines, we further demonstrated that pRb inactivation leads to increased cyclin A expression, cdk2 activation and proliferation in antiestrogen arrested cells. These results demonstrate that antiestrogens do not inhibit cdk2 activity or proliferation of MCF-7 cells in the absence of pRb family function, and suggest that antiestrogen resistant breast cancer cells resulting from pRb pathway inactivation would be susceptible to therapies that target cdk2.
Project description:Cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4)/cyclin D complexes are expressed early in the G(1) phase of the cell cycle and stimulate the expression of genes required for G(1) progression by phosphorylation of the product of the retinoblastoma gene, pRb. To elaborate the molecular pathway of CDK4 activation and substrate selection we have determined the structure of nonphosphorylated CDK4/cyclin D3. This structure of an authentic CDK/cyclin complex shows that cyclin binding may not be sufficient to drive the CDK active site toward an active conformation. Phosphorylated CDK4/cyclin D3 is active as a pRb kinase and is susceptible to inhibition by p27(Kip1). Unlike CDK2/cyclin A, CDK4/cyclin D3 can be inactivated by treatment with lambda-phosphatase, implying that phosphorylated T172 is accessible to a generic phosphatase while bound to a cyclin. Taken together, these results suggest that the structural mechanism of CDK4/cyclin D3 activation differs markedly from that of previously studied CDK/cyclin complexes.
Project description:Cell cycle progression, including genome duplication, is orchestrated by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). CDK activation depends on phosphorylation of their T-loop by a CDK-activating kinase (CAK). In animals, the only known CAK for CDK2 and CDK1 is cyclin H-CDK7, which is constitutively active. Therefore, the critical activation step is dephosphorylation of inhibitory sites by Cdc25 phosphatases rather than unrestricted T-loop phosphorylation. Homologous CDK4 and CDK6 bound to cyclins D are master integrators of mitogenic/oncogenic signaling cascades by initiating the inactivation of the central oncosuppressor pRb and cell cycle commitment at the restriction point. Unlike the situation in CDK1 and CDK2 cyclin complexes, and in contrast to the weak but constitutive T177 phosphorylation of CDK6, we have identified the T-loop phosphorylation at T172 as the highly regulated step determining CDK4 activity. Whether both CDK4 and CDK6 phosphorylations are catalyzed by CDK7 remains unclear. To answer this question, we took a chemical-genetics approach by using analogue-sensitive CDK7(as/as) mutant HCT116 cells, in which CDK7 can be specifically inhibited by bulky adenine analogs. Intriguingly, CDK7 inhibition prevented activating phosphorylations of CDK4/6, but for CDK4 this was at least partly dependent on its binding to p21 (cip1) . In response to CDK7 inhibition, p21-binding to CDK4 increased concomitantly with disappearance of the most abundant phosphorylation of p21, which we localized at S130 and found to be catalyzed by both CDK4 and CDK2. The S130A mutation of p21 prevented the activating CDK4 phosphorylation, and inhibition of CDK4/6 and CDK2 impaired phosphorylations of both p21 and p21-bound CDK4. Therefore, specific CDK7 inhibition revealed the following: a crucial but partly indirect CDK7 involvement in phosphorylation/activation of CDK4 and CDK6; existence of CDK4-activating kinase(s) other than CDK7; and novel CDK7-dependent positive feedbacks mediated by p21 phosphorylation by CDK4 and CDK2 to sustain CDK4 activation, pRb inactivation, and restriction point passage.
Project description:Patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDTX) mouse models were used to discover new therapies for naïve and drug resistant BRAFV600E -mutant melanoma. Tumor histology, oncogenic protein expression, and antitumor activity were comparable between patient and PDTX-matched models thereby validating PDTXs as predictive preclinical models of therapeutic response in patients. PDTX models responsive and non-responsive to BRAF/MEK standard of care (SOC) therapy were used to identify efficacious combination therapies. One such combination includes a CDK4/6 inhibitor that blocks cell cycle progression. The rationale for this is that the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) is 95% wildtype in BRAF mutant melanoma. We discovered that 77/77 stage IV metastatic melanoma tissues were positive for inactive phosphorylated pRb (pRb-Ser780). Rb is hyperphosphorylated and inactivated by CDK4/6:cyclin D1 and when restored to its hypophosphorylated active form blocks cell cycle progression. The addition of a CDK4/6 inhibitor to SOC therapy was superior to SOC. Importantly, triple therapy in an upfront treatment and salvage therapy setting provided sustained durable response. We also showed that CDK4/6 blockade resensitized drug resistant melanoma to SOC therapy. Durable response was associated with sustained suppression of pRb-Ser780. Thus, reactivation of pRb may prove to be a clinical biomarker of response and the mechanism responsible for durable response. In light of recent clinical trial data using this triple therapy against BRAFV600E -mutant melanoma, our findings demonstrating superior and prolonged durable response in PDTX models portend use of this therapeutic strategy against naïve and SOC resistant BRAFV600E -mutant metastatic melanoma coupled with pRB-Ser780 as a biomarker of response.
Project description:Mammalian cell division is thought to be driven by sequential activation of several Cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk), mainly Cdk4, Cdk6, Cdk2 and Cdk1. Since mice lacking Cdk4, Cdk6 or Cdk2 are viable, it has been proposed that they play compensatory roles. We report here that mice lacking Cdk4 and Cdk2 complete embryonic development to die shortly thereafter presumably due to heart failure. However, conditional ablation of Cdk2 in adult mice lacking Cdk4 does not result in obvious abnormalities. Moreover, these double mutant mice recover normally after partial hepatectomy. In culture, Cdk4(-/-);Cdk2(-/-) embryonic fibroblasts become immortal, display robust pRb phosphorylation and have normal S phase kinetics. These observations indicate that Cdk4 and Cdk2 are dispensable for the mammalian cell cycle and for adult homeostasis.
Project description:Mammalian cells typically start the cell-cycle entry program by activating cyclin-dependent protein kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6). CDK4/6 activity is clinically relevant as mutations, deletions, and amplifications that increase CDK4/6 activity contribute to the progression of many cancers. However, when CDK4/6 is activated relative to CDK2 remained incompletely understood. Here, we developed a reporter system to simultaneously monitor CDK4/6 and CDK2 activities in single cells and found that CDK4/6 activity increases rapidly before CDK2 activity gradually increases, and that CDK4/6 activity can be active after mitosis or inactive for variable time periods. Markedly, stress signals in G1 can rapidly inactivate CDK4/6 to return cells to quiescence but with reduced probability as cells approach S phase. Together, our study reveals a regulation of G1 length by temporary inactivation of CDK4/6 activity after mitosis, and a progressively increasing persistence in CDK4/6 activity that restricts cells from returning to quiescence as cells approach S phase.
Project description:The retinoblastoma susceptibility protein (pRB) is a phosphoprotein that regulates cell cycle progression at the G1/S transition. In quiescent and early G1 cells, pRB predominantly exists in the active hypophosphorylated form. The cyclin/cyclin-dependent protein kinase complexes phosphorylate pRB at the late G1 phase to inactivate pRB. This event leads to the dissociation and activation of E2F family transcriptional factors. At least 12 serine/threonine residues in pRB are phosphorylated in vivo. Although there have been many reports describing bulk phosphorylation of pRB, detail research describing the function of each phosphorylation site remains unknown. Besides its G1/S inhibitory function, pRB is involved in differentiation, prevention of cell death and control of tissue fate. To uncover the function of phosphorylation of pRB in various cellular conditions, we have been investigating phosphorylation of each serine/threonine residue in pRB with site-specific phospho-serine/threonine antibodies. Here we demonstrate that pRB is specifically phosphorylated at Ser612 in differentiated cells in a known kinase-independent manner. We also found that pRB phosphorylated at Ser612 still associates with E2F-1 and tightly binds to nuclear structures including chromatin. Moreover, expression of the Ser612Ala mutant pRB failed to induce differentiation. The findings suggest that phosphorylation of Ser612 provides a distinct function that differs from the function of phosphorylation of other serine/threonine residues in pRB.
Project description:Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is known to have anti-cancer activities by mechanisms that are not well understood. In the present study, we test one possible pathway for DHA action in Jurkat leukaemic cells. Low doses of DHA (10 microM) are shown to induce cell-cycle arrest, whereas higher doses are cytotoxic. However, when cells that were pre-treated with 10 microM DHA are given an additional 10 microM DHA dose, cell viability rapidly decreases. Immunoblotting reveals that repeated low doses of DHA results in activation of caspase 3, implying induction of apoptosis. DHA (10 microM) is shown to increase ceramide levels after 6 h of incubation and, after 24 h, the cells appear to be arrested in S phase. With DHA, the amount of phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (pRb) decreases significantly. Western blot analysis also shows that DHA greatly reduces the level of cyclin A, while increasing the level of p21 WAF1, a cellular inhibitor of cyclin A/cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (cdk2) activity. Furthermore, the observed DHA-induced doubling of the ratio of hypophosphorylated pRb (hypo-pRb) to total pRb is inhibited by tautomycin and phosphatidic acid (PA), known inhibitors of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), and by the PP2 inhibitor okadaic acid. The present study demonstrates one possible connected pathway for DHA action. By this pathway, low doses of DHA increase ceramide levels, which leads to inhibition of cdk2 activity and stimulation of PP1 and PP2A. The net effect of cdk2 inhibition and protein phosphatase activation is an inhibition of pRb phosphorylation, consequently arresting Jurkat cell growth.
Project description:Cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 are essential for the control of the cell cycle through the G(1) phase. Aberrant expression of CDK4 and CDK6 is a hallmark of cancer, which would suggest that CDK4 and CDK6 are attractive targets for cancer therapy. Herein, we report that calcein AM (the calcein acetoxymethyl-ester) is a potent specific inhibitor of CDK4 and CDK6 in HCT116 human colon adenocarcinoma cells, inhibiting retinoblastoma protein (pRb) phosphorylation and inducing cell cycle arrest in the G(1) phase. The metabolic effects of calcein AM on HCT116 cells were also evaluated and the flux between the oxidative and non-oxidative branches of the pentose phosphate pathway was significantly altered. To elucidate whether these metabolic changes were due to the inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6, we also characterized the metabolic profile of a CDK4, CDK6 and CDK2 triple knockout of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The results show that the metabolic profile associated with the depletion of CDK4, CDK6 and CDK2 coincides with the metabolic changes induced by calcein AM on HCT116 cells, thus confirming that the inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6 disrupts the balance between the oxidative and non-oxidative branches of the pentose phosphate pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that low doses of calcein can halt cell division and kill tumor cells. Thus, selective inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6 may be of greater pharmacological interest, since inhibitors of these kinases affect both cell cycle progression and the robust metabolic profile of tumors.
Project description:Cell-cycle entry relies on an orderly progression of signaling events. To start, cells first activate the kinase cyclin D-CDK4/6, which leads to eventual inactivation of the retinoblastoma protein Rb. Hours later, cells inactivate APC/C<sup>CDH1</sup> and cross the final commitment point. However, many cells with genetically deleted cyclin Ds, which activate and confer specificity to CDK4/6, can compensate and proliferate. Despite its importance in cancer, how this entry mechanism operates remains poorly characterized, and whether cells use this path under normal conditions remains unknown. Here, using single-cell microscopy, we demonstrate that cells with acutely inhibited CDK4/6 enter the cell cycle with a slowed and fluctuating cyclin E-CDK2 activity increase. Surprisingly, with low CDK4/6 activity, the order of APC/C<sup>CDH1</sup> and Rb inactivation is reversed in both cell lines and wild-type mice. Finally, we show that as a consequence of this signaling inversion, Rb inactivation replaces APC/C<sup>CDH1</sup> inactivation as the point of no return. Together, we elucidate the molecular steps that enable cell-cycle entry without CDK4/6 activity. Our findings not only have implications in cancer resistance, but also reveal temporal plasticity underlying the G1 regulatory circuit.