The structure of CDK4/cyclin D3 has implications for models of CDK activation.
ABSTRACT: 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:Cyclin D-CDK4/6 are the first cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) complexes to be activated by mitogenic/oncogenic pathways. They have a central role in the cell multiplication decision and in its deregulation in cancer cells. We identified T172 phosphorylation of CDK4 rather than cyclin D accumulation as the distinctly regulated step determining CDK4 activation. This finding challenges the view that the only identified metazoan CDK-activating kinase, cyclin H-CDK7-Mat1 (CAK), which is constitutively active, is responsible for the activating phosphorylation of all cell cycle CDKs. We previously showed that T172 phosphorylation of CDK4 is conditioned by an adjacent proline (P173), which is not present in CDK6 and CDK1/2. Although CDK7 activity was recently shown to be required for CDK4 activation, we proposed that proline-directed kinases might specifically initiate the activation of CDK4. Here, we report that JNKs, but not ERK1/2 or CAK, can be direct CDK4-activating kinases for cyclin D-CDK4 complexes that are inactivated by p21-mediated stabilization. JNKs and ERK1/2 also phosphorylated p21 at S130 and T57, which might facilitate CDK7-dependent activation of p21-bound CDK4, however, mutation of these sites did not impair the phosphorylation of CDK4 by JNKs. In two selected tumor cells, two different JNK inhibitors inhibited the phosphorylation and activation of cyclin D1-CDK4-p21 but not the activation of cyclin D3-CDK4 that is mainly associated to p27. Specific inhibition by chemical genetics in MEFs confirmed the involvement of JNK2 in cyclin D1-CDK4 activation. Therefore, JNKs could be activating kinases for cyclin D1-CDK4 bound to p21, by independently phosphorylating both CDK4 and p21.
Project description:How cyclic AMP (cAMP) could positively or negatively regulate G1 phase progression in different cell types or in cancer cells versus normal differentiated counterparts has remained an intriguing question for decades. At variance with the cAMP-dependent mitogenesis of normal thyroid epithelial cells, we show here that cAMP and cAMP-dependent protein kinase activation inhibit S-phase entry in four thyroid carcinoma cell lines that harbor a permanent activation of the Raf/ERK pathway by different oncogenes. Only in Ret/PTC1-positive TPC-1 cells did cAMP markedly inhibit the Raf/ERK cascade, leading to mTOR pathway inhibition, repression of cyclin D1 and p21 and p27 accumulation. p27 knockdown did not prevent the DNA synthesis inhibition. In the other cells, cAMP little affected these signaling cascades and levels of cyclins D or CDK inhibitors. However, cAMP differentially inhibited the pRb-kinase activity and T172-phosphorylation of CDK4 complexed to cyclin D1 or cyclin D3, whereas CDK-activating kinase activity remained unaffected. At variance with current conceptions, our studies in thyroid carcinoma cell lines and previously in normal thyrocytes identify the activating phosphorylation of CDK4 as a common target of opposite cell cycle regulations by cAMP, irrespective of its impact on classical mitogenic signaling cascades and expression of CDK4 regulatory partners.
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:Loss of normal growth control is a hallmark of cancer progression. Therefore, understanding the early mechanisms of normal growth regulation and the changes that occur during preneoplasia may provide insights of both diagnostic and therapeutic importance. Models of dysplasia that help elucidate the mechanisms responsible for disease progression are useful in highlighting potential targets for prevention. An important strategy in cancer prevention treatment programs is to reduce hyperplasia and dysplasia. This study identified abnormal upregulation of cell cycle-related proteins cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4, CDK6, and phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (pRb) as mechanisms responsible for maintenance of hyperplasia and dysplasia following downregulation of the initiating viral oncoprotein Simian virus 40 (SV40) T antigen. Significantly, p53 was not required for successful reversal of hyperplasia and dysplasia. Ligand-induced activation of retinoid X receptor and PPAR? agonists attenuated cyclin D1 and CDK6 but not CDK4 or phosphorylated pRb upregulation with limited reversal of hyperplasia and dysplasia. PD0332991, an orally available CDK4/6 inhibitor, was able to prevent upregulation of cyclin D1 and CDK6 as well as CDK4 and phosphorylated pRb and this correlated with a more profound reversal of hyperplasia and dysplasia. In summary, the study distinguished CDK4 and phosphorylated pRb as targets for chemoprevention regimens targeting reversal of hyperplasia and dysplasia.
Project description:Cyclin D-CDK4/6 are the first CDK complexes to be activated in the G1 phase in response to oncogenic pathways. The specific CDK4/6 inhibitor PD0332991 (palbociclib) was recently approved by the FDA and EMA for treatment of advanced ER-positive breast tumors. Unfortunately, no reliable predictive tools are available for identifying potentially responsive or insensitive tumors. We had shown that the activating T172 phosphorylation of CDK4 is the central rate-limiting event that initiates the cell cycle decision and signals the presence of active CDK4. Here, we report that the profile of post-translational modification including T172 phosphorylation of CDK4 differs among breast tumors and associates with their subtypes and risk. A gene expression signature faithfully predicted CDK4 modification profiles in tumors and cell lines. Moreover, in breast cancer cell lines, the CDK4 T172 phosphorylation best correlated with sensitivity to PD0332991. This gene expression signature identifies tumors that are unlikely to respond to CDK4/6 inhibitors and could help to select a subset of patients with HER2-positive and basal-like tumors for clinical studies on this class of drugs.
Project description:How cAMP-dependent protein kinases [protein kinase A (PKA)] transduce the mitogenic stimulus elicited by TSH in thyroid cells to late activation of cyclin D3-cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) remains enigmatic. Here we show in PC Cl3 rat thyroid cells that TSH/cAMP, like insulin, activates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-raptor complex (mTORC1) leading to phosphorylation of S6K1 and 4E-BP1. mTORC1-dependent S6K1 phosphorylation in response to both insulin and cAMP required amino acids, whereas inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase and glycogen synthase kinase 3 enhanced insulin but not cAMP effects. Unlike insulin, TSH/cAMP did not activate protein kinase B or induce tuberous sclerosis complex 2 phosphorylation at T1462 and Y1571. However, like insulin, TSH/cAMP produced a stable increase in mTORC1 kinase activity that was associated with augmented 4E-BP1 binding to raptor. This could be caused in part by T246 phosphorylation of PRAS40, which was found as an in vitro substrate of PKA. Both in PC Cl3 cells and primary dog thyrocytes, rapamycin inhibited DNA synthesis and retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation induced by TSH and insulin. Although rapamycin reduced cyclin D3 accumulation, the abundance of cyclin D3-CDK4 complexes was not affected. However, rapamycin inhibited the activity of these complexes by decreasing the TSH and insulin-mediated stimulation of activating T172 phosphorylation of CDK4. We propose that mTORC1 activation by TSH, at least in part through PKA-dependent phosphorylation of PRAS40, crucially contributes to mediate cAMP-dependent mitogenesis by regulating CDK4 T172-phosphorylation.
Project description:Inactivation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) by phosphorylation triggers uncontrolled cell proliferation. Accordingly, activation of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)/cyclin complexes or downregulation of CDK inhibitors appears as a common event in human cancer. Here we show that Pin1 (protein interacting with NIMA (never in mitosis A)-1), a peptidylprolyl isomerase involved in the control of protein phosphorylation, is an essential mediator for inactivation of the pRb. Our results indicate that Pin1 controls cell proliferation by altering pRb phosphorylation without affecting CDK and protein phosphatase 1 and 2 activity. We demonstrated that Pin1 regulates tumor cell proliferation through direct interaction with the spacer domain of the pRb protein, and allows the interaction between CDK/cyclin complexes and pRb in mid/late G1. Phosphorylation of pRb Ser 608/612 is the crucial motif for Pin1 binding. We propose that Pin1 selectively boosts the switch from hypo- to hyper-phosphorylation of pRb in tumor cells. In addition, we demonstrate that the CDK pathway is responsible for the interaction of Pin1 and pRb. Prospectively, our findings therefore suggest that the synergism among CDK and Pin1 inhibitors holds great promise for targeted pharmacological treatment of cancer patients, with the possibility of reaching high effectiveness at tolerated doses.
Project description:The cyclin D1-cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) complex is a key regulator of the transition through the G(1) phase of the cell cycle. Among the cyclin/CDKs, CDK4 and cyclin D1 are the most frequently activated by somatic genetic alterations in multiple tumor types. Thus, aberrant regulation of the CDK4/cyclin D1 pathway plays an essential role in oncogenesis; hence, CDK4 is a genetically validated therapeutic target. Although X-ray crystallographic structures have been determined for various CDK/cyclin complexes, CDK4/cyclin D1 has remained highly refractory to structure determination. Here, we report the crystal structure of CDK4 in complex with cyclin D1 at a resolution of 2.3 A. Although CDK4 is bound to cyclin D1 and has a phosphorylated T-loop, CDK4 is in an inactive conformation and the conformation of the heterodimer diverges from the previously known CDK/cyclin binary complexes, which suggests a unique mechanism for the process of CDK4 regulation and activation.
Project description:Cellular senescence, the stable cell cycle arrest elicited by various forms of stress, is an important facet of tumor suppression. Although much is known about the key players in the implementation of senescence, including the pRb and p53 axes and the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors p16(INK4a) and p21(CIP1), many details remain unresolved. In studying conditional senescence in human fibroblasts that express a temperature sensitive SV40 large T-antigen (T-Ag), we uncovered an unexpected role for CDK4. At the permissive temperature, where pRb and p53 are functionally compromised by T-Ag, cyclin D-CDK4 complexes are disrupted by the high p16(INK4a) levels and reduced expression of p21(CIP1). In cells arrested at the non-permissive temperature, p21(CIP1) promotes reassembly of cyclin D-CDK4 yet pRb is in a hypo-phosphorylated state, consistent with cell cycle arrest. In exploring whether the reassembled cyclin D-CDK4-p21 complexes are functional, we found that shRNA-mediated knockdown or chemical inhibition of CDK4 prevented the increase in cell size associated with the senescent phenotype by allowing the cells to arrest in G1 rather than G2/M. The data point to a role for CDK4 kinase activity in a G2 checkpoint that contributes to senescence.
Project description:Deregulation of the p16INK4a-cyclin D:cyclin-dependent kinases (cdk) 4/6-retinoblastoma (pRB) pathway is a common paradigm in the oncogenic transformation of human cells and suggests that this pathway functions linearly in malignant transformation. However, it is not understood why p16INK4a and cyclin D:cdk4/6 mutations are disproportionately more common than the rare genetic event of RB inactivation in human malignancies such as melanoma. To better understand how these complexes contribute to altered tissue homeostasis, we blocked cdk4/6 activation and acutely inactivated Rb by conditional mutagenesis during mouse hair follicle cycling. Inhibition of cdk4/6 in the skin by subcutaneous administration of a membrane-transducible TAT-p16INK4a protein completely blocked hair follicle growth and differentiation. In contrast, acute disruption of Rb in the skin of homozygous RbLoxP/LoxP mice via subcutaneous administration of TAT-Cre recombinase failed to affect hair growth. However, loss of Rb resulted in severe depigmentation of hair follicles. Further analysis of follicular melanocytes in vivo and in primary cell culture demonstrated that pRB plays a cell-autonomous role in melanocyte survival. Moreover, functional inactivation of all three Rb family members (Rb, p107, and p130) in primary melanocytes by treatment with a transducible TAT-E1A protein did not rescue the apoptotic phenotype. These findings suggest that deregulated cyclin D:cdk4/6 complexes and pRB perform nonoverlapping functions in vivo and provide a cellular mechanism that accounts for the low incidence of RB inactivation in cancers such as melanoma.