Distinct and nonoverlapping roles for pRB and cyclin D:cyclin-dependent kinases 4/6 activity in melanocyte survival.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description: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:Phosphorylation of target proteins by cyclin D1-Cdk4 requires both substrate docking and kinase activity. In addition to the ability of cyclin D1-Cdk4 to catalyze the phosphorylation of consensus sites within the primary amino acid sequence of a substrate, maximum catalytic activity requires the enzyme complex to anchor at a site remote from the phospho-acceptor site. A novel Cdk4 docking motif has been defined within a stretch of 19 amino acids from the C-terminal domain of the Rb protein that are essential for Cdk4 binding. Mutation or deletion of the docking motif prevents Cdk4-dependent phosphorylation of full-length Rb protein or C-terminal Rb fragments in vitro and in cells, while a peptide encompassing the Cdk4 docking motif specifically inhibits Cdk4-dependent phosphorylation of Rb. Cyclin D1-Cdk4 can overcome the growth-suppressive activity of Rb in both cell cycle progression and colony formation assays; however, while mutants of Rb in which the Cdk4 docking site has been either deleted or mutated retain growth suppressor activity, they are resistant to inactivation by cyclin D1-Cdk4. Finally, binding of Cdk4 to its docking site can inhibit cleavage of exogenous and endogenous Rb in response to distinct apoptotic signals. The Cdk4 docking motif in Rb gives insight into the mechanism by which enzyme specificity is ensured and highlights a role for Cdk4 docking in maintaining the Rb protein in a form that favors cell survival rather than apoptosis.
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.
Project description:The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (Rb) regulates early G1 phase checkpoints, including the DNA damage response, as well as cell cycle exit and differentiation. The widely accepted model of G1 cell cycle progression proposes that cyclin D:Cdk4/6 partially inactivates the Rb tumor suppressor during early G1 phase by progressive multi-phosphorylation, termed hypo-phosphorylation, resulting in release of E2F transcription factors. However, this model remains largely unproven biochemically and the biologically active form(s) of Rb remains unknown. Here we find that Rb is un-phosphorylated in G0 cells and becomes exclusively mono-phosphorylated throughout all of early G1 phase by cyclin D:Cdk4/6. Early G1 phase mono-phosphorylated Rb is composed of 14 independent isoforms that are all targeted by the E1a oncoprotein, but each shows a preferential binding pattern to specific E2F1-4 transcription factors. At the late G1 Restriction Point, cyclin E:Cdk2 inactivates Rb by a quantum hyper-phosphorylation (>12 phosphates/Rb). Cells undergoing a DNA damage response activate cyclin D:Cdk4/6 to generate mono-phosphorylated Rb that regulates global transcription. In contrast, a non-phosphorylatable ?Cdk-Rb allele was non-functional for regulating a DNA damage response, but functional for driving cell cycle exit and differentiation during myogenesis. These observations fundamentally change our understanding of G1 cell cycle progression and show that there is no progressive multi-phosphorylation or hypo-phosphorylation inactivation of Rb during early G1 phase by cyclin D:Cdk4/6. Instead, cyclin D:Cdk4/6 generates functionally active, mono-phosphorylated Rb that is the only Rb isoform present in cells during early G1 phase. Global transcriptional analysis of murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) with conditional deletion of the endogenous RB gene by treatment with cell permeable TAT-Cre. Comparison to unaltered MEFs and MEFs with physiological level of exogenous wildtype or phospho-mutant RB expressed at time of RB gene deletion.
Project description:The tumor suppressor p16INK4A (p16) inhibits cell cycle progression through the CDK4/Rb pathway. We have previously shown that p16 regulates cellular oxidative stress, independent of its role in cell cycle control. We investigated whether loss of p16 had a direct impact on the mitochondria. We found that p16-null primary mouse fibroblasts (PMFs) displayed increased mitochondrial mass and expression of mitochondrial respiratory subunit proteins compared to wild-type (WT) PMFs. These findings in p16-null PMFs were associated with increased expression of the mitochondrial biogenesis transcription factors PRC and TFAM. On the other hand, p16-deficient PMFs demonstrated reduced mitochondrial respiration capacity consistent with electron microscopy findings showing that mitochondria in p16-deficient PMFs have abnormal morphology. Consistent with increased mitochondrial mass and reduced respiratory capacity, p16-deficient PMFs generated increased mitochondrial superoxide. One biological consequence of elevated ROS in p16-deficient PMFs was enhanced migration, which was reduced by the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine. Finally, p16-deficient PMFs displayed increased mitochondrial membrane potential, which was also required for their enhanced migration. The mitochondrial and migration phenotype was restored in p16-deficient PMFs by forced expression of p16. Similarly, over-expression of p16 in human melanocytes and A375 melanoma cells led to decreased expression of some mitochondrial respiratory proteins, enhanced respiration, and decreased migration. Inhibition of Rb phosphorylation in melanocytes and melanoma cells, either by addition of chemical CDK4 inhibitors or RNAi-mediated knockdown of CDK4, did not mimic the effects of p16 loss. These results suggest that p16 regulates mitochondrial biogenesis and function, which is independent of the canonical CDK4/Rb pathway.
Project description:The function of retinoblastoma protein (pRb) in the regulation of small intestine epithelial cell homeostasis has been challenged by several groups using various promoter-based Cre transgenic mouse lines. Interestingly, different pRb deletion systems yield dramatically disparate small intestinal phenotypes. These findings confound the function of pRb in this dynamic tissue. In this study, Villin-Cre transgenic mice were crossed with Rb (flox/flox) mice to conditionally delete pRb protein in small intestine enterocytes. We discovered a novel hyperplasia phenotype as well as ectopic cell cycle reentry within villus enterocytes in the small intestine. This phenotype was not seen in other pRb family member (p107 or p130) null mice. Using a newly developed crypt/villus isolation method, we uncovered that expression of pRb was undetectable, whereas proliferating cell nuclear antigen, p107, cyclin E, cyclin D3, Cdk2, and Cdc2 were dramatically increased in pRb-deficient villus cells. Cyclin A, cyclin D1, cyclin D2, and Cdk4/6 expression was not affected by absent pRb expression. pRb-deficient villus cells appeared capable of progressing to mitosis but with higher rates of apoptosis. However, the cycling villus enterocytes were not completely differentiated as gauged by significant reduction of intestinal fatty acid-binding protein expression. In summary, pRb, but not p107 or p130, is required for maintaining the postmitotic villus cell in quiescence, governing the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins, and completing of absorptive enterocyte differentiation in the small intestine.
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:Relapse with drug-resistant disease is the main cause of death in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma patients. MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells in vitro are characterized by a failure to arrest at the G(1)-S checkpoint after irradiation- or drug-induced DNA damage. We show that several MYCN-amplified cell lines harbor additional chromosomal aberrations targeting p53 and/or pRB pathway components, including CDK4/CCND1/MDM2 amplifications, p16INK4A/p14ARF deletions or TP53 mutations. Cells with these additional aberrations undergo significantly lower levels of cell death after doxorubicin treatment compared with MYCN-amplified cells, with no additional mutations in these pathways. In MYCN-amplified cells CDK4 expression is elevated, increasing the competition between CDK4 and CDK2 for binding p21. This results in insufficient p21 to inhibit CDK2, leading to high CDK4 and CDK2 kinase activity upon doxorubicin treatment. CDK4 inhibition by siRNAs, selective small compounds or p19(INK4D) overexpression partly restored G(1)-S arrest, delayed S-phase progression and reduced cell viability upon doxorubicin treatment. Our results suggest a specific function of p19(INK4D), but not p16(INK4A), in sensitizing MYCN-amplified cells with a functional p53 pathway to doxorubicin-induced cell death. In summary, the CDK4/cyclin D-pRB axis is altered in MYCN-amplified cells to evade a G(1)-S arrest after doxorubicin-induced DNA damage. Additional chromosomal aberrations affecting the p53-p21 and CDK4-pRB axes compound the effects of MYCN on the G(1) checkpoint and reduce sensitivity to cell death after doxorubicin treatment. CDK4 inhibition partly restores G(1)-S arrest and sensitizes cells to doxorubicin-mediated cell death in MYCN-amplified cells with an intact p53 pathway.
Project description:Research into the cyclin-dependent kinases and their inhibitors is finally coming into the forefront of clinical research in cancer. Targeted therapies such as BRAF inhibitors have led the way in improving treatment outcomes in advanced melanoma. Based on detailed genomic knowledge of melanoma it is now time to extend targeted therapies beyond BRAF to fulfill the vision of precision medicine. The p16INK4A-cyclin D-CDK4/6-retinoblastoma protein pathway (RB pathway) is dysregulated in more than 90% of melanomas and interacts biochemically and genetically with the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway. Recognizing and understanding these processes that drive melanomagenesis is essential to rationally develop new therapies. This paper reviews the mechanisms, background and progress of small molecule CDK4 inhibitors in the management of melanoma.
Project description:The p53-inducible gene PC3 (TIS21, BTG2) is endowed with antiproliferative activity. Here we report that expression of PC3 in cycling cells induced accumulation of hypophosphorylated, growth-inhibitory forms of pRb and led to G(1) arrest. This latter was not observed in cells with genetic disruption of the Rb gene, indicating that the PC3-mediated G(1) arrest was Rb dependent. Furthermore, (i) the arrest of G(1)-S transition exerted by PC3 was completely rescued by coexpression of cyclin D1 but not by that of cyclin A or E; (ii) expression of PC3 caused a significant down-regulation of cyclin D1 protein levels, also in Rb-defective cells, accompanied by inhibition of CDK4 activity in vivo; and (iii) the removal from the PC3 molecule of residues 50 to 68, a conserved domain of the PC3/BTG/Tob gene family, which we term GR, led to a loss of the inhibition of proliferation as well as of the down-regulation of cyclin D1 levels. These data point to cyclin D1 down-regulation as the main factor responsible for the growth inhibition by PC3. Such an effect was associated with a decrease of cyclin D1 transcript and of cyclin D1 promoter activity, whereas no effect of PC3 was observed on cyclin D1 protein stability. Taken together, these findings indicate that PC3 impairs G(1)-S transition by inhibiting pRb function in consequence of a reduction of cyclin D1 levels and that PC3 acts, either directly or indirectly, as a transcriptional regulator of cyclin D1.