Chemical-genetic analysis of cyclin dependent kinase 2 function reveals an important role in cellular transformation by multiple oncogenic pathways.
ABSTRACT: A family of conserved serine/threonine kinases known as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) drives orderly cell cycle progression in mammalian cells. Prior studies have suggested that CDK2 regulates S-phase entry and progression, and frequently shows increased activity in a wide spectrum of human tumors. Genetic KO/knockdown approaches, however, have suggested that lack of CDK2 protein does not prevent cellular proliferation, both during somatic development in mice as well as in human cancer cell lines. Here, we use an alternative, chemical-genetic approach to achieve specific inhibition of CDK2 kinase activity in cells. We directly compare small-molecule inhibition of CDK2 kinase activity with siRNA knockdown and show that small-molecule inhibition results in marked defects in proliferation of nontransformed cells, whereas siRNA knockdown does not, highlighting the differences between these two approaches. In addition, CDK2 inhibition drastically diminishes anchorage-independent growth of human cancer cells and cells transformed with various oncogenes. Our results establish that CDK2 activity is necessary for normal mammalian cell cycle progression and suggest that it might be a useful therapeutic target for treating cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cellular proliferation, driven by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and their cyclin partners, is deregulated in cancer. Anti-estrogens, such as tamoxifen, antagonise estrogen-induced ERalpha transactivation of cyclin D1, resulting in reduced CDK4/6 activity, p27(Kip1)-mediated inhibition of CDK2 and growth arrest. We hypothesised that direct inhibition of CDK2 and CDK1 may overcome the major clinical problem of anti-estrogen resistance. METHODS:The cellular effects of CDK2/1 siRNA knockdown and purine-based CDK2/1 inhibitors, NU2058 and NU6102, were measured in anti-estrogen-sensitive and resistant breast cancer cell lines. RESULTS:CDK2 knockdown caused G1 accumulation, whereas CDK1 depletion caused G2/M slowing, and dual CDK1/2 depletion resulted in further G2/M accumulation and cell death in both anti-estrogen-sensitive and resistant cells, confirming CDK2 and CDK1 as targets for breast cancer therapy. In contrast to tamoxifen, which only affected hormone-sensitive cells, NU2058 and NU6102 reduced CDK2-mediated phosphorylation of pRb, E2F transcriptional activity and proliferation, ultimately resulting in cell death, in both anti-estrogen-sensitive and resistant cells. Both drugs caused G2/M arrest, reflective of combined CDK2/1 knockdown, with a variable degree of G1 accumulation. CONCLUSION:These studies confirm the therapeutic potential of CDK2 and CDK1 inhibitors for cancer therapy, and support their use as an alternative treatment for endocrine-resistant breast cancer.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Although MYC is an attractive therapeutic target for breast cancer treatment, it has proven challenging to inhibit MYC directly, and clinically effective pharmaceutical agents targeting MYC are not yet available. An alternative approach is to identify genes that are synthetically lethal in MYC-dependent cancer. Recent studies have identified several cell cycle kinases as MYC synthetic-lethal genes. We therefore investigated the therapeutic potential of specific cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibition in MYC-driven breast cancer.<h4>Methods</h4>Using small interfering RNA (siRNA), MYC expression was depleted in 26 human breast cancer cell lines and cell proliferation evaluated by BrdU incorporation. MYC-dependent and MYC-independent cell lines were classified based on their sensitivity to siRNA-mediated MYC knockdown. We then inhibited CDKs including CDK4/6, CDK2 and CDK1 individually using either RNAi or small molecule inhibitors, and compared sensitivity to CDK inhibition with MYC dependence in breast cancer cells.<h4>Results</h4>Breast cancer cells displayed a wide range of sensitivity to siRNA-mediated MYC knockdown. The sensitivity was correlated with MYC protein expression and MYC phosphorylation level. Sensitivity to siRNA-mediated MYC knockdown did not parallel sensitivity to the CDK4/6 inhibitor PD0332991; instead MYC-independent cell lines were generally sensitive to PD0332991. Cell cycle arrest induced by MYC knockdown was accompanied by a decrease in CDK2 activity, but inactivation of CDK2 did not selectively affect the viability of MYC-dependent breast cancer cells. In contrast, CDK1 inactivation significantly induced apoptosis and reduced viability of MYC-dependent cells but not MYC- independent cells. This selective induction of apoptosis by CDK1 inhibitors was associated with up-regulation of the pro-apoptotic molecule BIM and was p53-independent.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Overall, these results suggest that further investigation of CDK1 inhibition as a potential therapy for MYC-dependent breast cancer is warranted.
Project description:The MYCC (c-MYC) gene is amplified in 30-60% of human ovarian cancers. We assessed the functional significance of MYCC amplification by siRNA inhibition of MYCC or MYC paralogs in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines expressing varying levels of MYCC. Inactivation of MYCC inhibited cell proliferation and induced replicative senescence only in lines with amplified MYCC, indicating that these cells are addicted to continued MYCC overexpression. In contrast, siRNA knockdown of all three MYC isoforms inhibited proliferation of MYCC non-amplified ovarian cancer cells without inducing replicative senescence, and did not inhibit the proliferation of telomerase-immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells. The arrest induced by MYCC knockdown was accompanied by an increase in the level of the Cdk inhibitor p27(Kip1) and a decrease in cyclin A expression and Cdk2 activity, and could be reversed by RNAi knockdown of p27(Kip1) or Rb, or by overexpression of cyclin A/Cdk2. The arrest induced by knockdown of all three MYC isoforms could similarly be reversed by p27(Kip1) knockdown. Our findings indicate that the addiction of MYCC-amplified ovarian cancer cells to MYCC differs from the dependence of MYCC non-amplified cancer cells on MYC paralogs, but both are mediated, at least in part, by p27(Kip1). They also suggest that growth of ovarian cancers may be blocked by inhibition of MYCC or MYC paralogs.
Project description:Cdk2 and cdk1 are individually dispensable for cell-cycle progression in cancer cell lines because they are able to compensate for one another. However, shRNA-mediated depletion of cdk1 alone or small molecule cdk1 inhibition abrogated S phase cell-cycle arrest and the phosphorylation of a subset of ATR/ATM targets after DNA damage. Loss of DNA damage-induced checkpoint control was caused by a reduction in formation of BRCA1-containing foci. Mutation of BRCA1 at S1497 and S1189/S1191 resulted in loss of cdk1-mediated phosphorylation and also compromised formation of BRCA1-containing foci. Abrogation of checkpoint control after cdk1 depletion or inhibition in non-small-cell lung cancer cells sensitized them to DNA-damaging agents. Conversely, reduced cdk1 activity caused more potent G2/M arrest in nontransformed cells and antagonized the response to subsequent DNA damage. Cdk1 inhibition may therefore selectively sensitize BRCA1-proficient cancer cells to DNA-damaging treatments by disrupting BRCA1 function.
Project description:Wilms' tumor 1-associating protein (WTAP) plays an important role in physiological processes and the development of tumor such as cell cycle regulation. The regulation of cell cycle is mainly dependent on cyclins and cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs). Recent studies have shown that CDKs are closely related to the tumor diagnosis, progression and response to treatment. However, their specific biological roles and related mechanism in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remain unknown.Quantitative real-time PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to detect the expression of WTAP and CDK2. The survival analysis was adopted to explore the association between WTAP expression and the prognosis of RCC. Cells were stably transfected with lentivirus approach and cell proliferation and cell cycle, as well as tumorigenesis in nude mice were performed to assess the effect of WTAP in RCC. RNA immunoprecipitation, Luciferase reporter assay and siRNA were employed to identify the direct binding sites of WTAP with CDK2 transcript. Colony formation assay was conducted to confirm the function of CDK2 in WTAP-induced growth promoting.In RCC cell lines and tissues, WTAP was significantly over-expressed. Compared with patients with low expression of WTAP, patients with high expression of WTAP had lower overall survival rate. Additionally, cell function test indicated that cell proliferation abilities in WTAP over-expressed group were enhanced, while WTAP knockdown showed the opposite results. Subcutaneous xenograft tumor model displayed that knockdown of WTAP could impede tumorigenesis in vivo. Mechanism study exhibited that CDK2 expression was positively associated with the expression of WTAP. Moreover, WTAP stabilized CDK2 transcript to enhance CDK2 expression via binding to 3'-UTR of CDK2 transcript. Additionally, specific inhibitors of CDK2 activity and small interfering RNA (siRNA) of CDK2 expression inhibited WTAP-mediated promotion of proliferation.These findings suggest that WTAP may have an oncogenic role in RCC through physically binding to CDK2 transcript and enhancing its transcript stability which might provide new insights into RCC therapy.
Project description:7-hydroxy-5,4'-dimethoxy-2-arylbenzofuran (Ary) is purified from Livistona. It has been demonstrated to have anticancer activity to various tumors in including cervical cancer, but its mechanism is still unclear. In the present, we show that Ary induces cervical cancer cells apoptosis through mitochondria degradation and mediates cervical cancer cell arrest. Further, Ary-inducing cell cycle G1/S-phase arrest is associated with increased cyclin A2 and cyclin dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2) proteins. Knockdown of cyclin A2 using small interfering RNA (siRNA), and inhibiting Cdk2 activity with flavopiridol, strikingly reduced G1/S-phase arrest. Moreover, Ary sustainedly induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2). And ERK1/2 phosphorylation inhibition using specific inhibitor U0126 effectively suppressed cyclin A2 expression, and reduced G1/S-phase arrest induced by Ary. All the experiments in vitro and in vivo verified that Ary has an anticancer effect on cervical cancer. These data provide novel evidences that Ary induces cervical cancer cells apoptosis through mitochondria degradation and cell G1/S-phase arrest. These findings also suggest that ERK-mediated Cdk2/cyclin A signaling pathway is involved in Ary-induced G1/S-phase arrest.
Project description:HIV-1 transcription is activated by the viral Tat protein that recruits host positive transcription elongation factor-b (P-TEFb) containing CDK9/cyclin T1 to the HIV-1 promoter. P-TEFb in the cells exists as a lower molecular weight CDK9/cyclin T1 dimer and a high molecular weight complex of 7SK RNA, CDK9/cyclin T1, HEXIM1 dimer and several additional proteins. Our previous studies implicated CDK2 in HIV-1 transcription regulation. We also found that inhibition of CDK2 by iron chelators leads to the inhibition of CDK9 activity, suggesting a functional link between CDK2 and CDK9. Here, we investigate whether CDK2 phosphorylates CDK9 and regulates its activity.The siRNA-mediated knockdown of CDK2 inhibited CDK9 kinase activity and reduced CDK9 phosphorylation. Stable shRNA-mediated CDK2 knockdown inhibited HIV-1 transcription, but also increased the overall level of 7SK RNA. CDK9 contains a motif (90SPYNR94) that is consensus CDK2 phosphorylation site. CDK9 was phosphorylated on Ser90 by CDK2 in vitro. In cultured cells, CDK9 phosphorylation was reduced when Ser90 was mutated to an Ala. Phosphorylation of CDK9 on Ser90 was also detected with phospho-specific antibodies and it was reduced after the knockdown of CDK2. CDK9 expression decreased in the large complex for the CDK9-S90A mutant and was correlated with a reduced activity and an inhibition of HIV-1 transcription. In contrast, the CDK9-S90D mutant showed a slight decrease in CDK9 expression in both the large and small complexes but induced Tat-dependent HIV-1 transcription. Molecular modeling showed that Ser 90 of CDK9 is located on a flexible loop exposed to solvent, suggesting its availability for phosphorylation.Our data indicate that CDK2 phosphorylates CDK9 on Ser 90 and thereby contributes to HIV-1 transcription. The phosphorylation of Ser90 by CDK2 represents a novel mechanism of HIV-1 regulated transcription and provides a new strategy for activation of latent HIV-1 provirus.
Project description:The cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) that promote cell-cycle progression are targets for negative regulation by signals from damaged or unreplicated DNA, but also play active roles in response to DNA lesions. The requirement for activity in the face of DNA damage implies that there are mechanisms to insulate certain CDKs from checkpoint inhibition. It remains difficult, however, to assign precise functions to specific CDKs in protecting genomic integrity. In mammals, Cdk2 is active throughout S and G2 phases, but Cdk2 protein is dispensable for survival, owing to compensation by other CDKs. That plasticity obscured a requirement for Cdk2 activity in proliferation of human cells, which we uncovered by replacement of wild-type Cdk2 with a mutant version sensitized to inhibition by bulky adenine analogs. Here we show that transient, selective inhibition of analog-sensitive (AS) Cdk2 after exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) enhances cell-killing. In extracts supplemented with an ATP analog used preferentially by AS kinases, Cdk2(as) phosphorylated the Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome gene product Nbs1-a component of the conserved Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 complex required for normal DNA damage repair and checkpoint signaling-dependent on a consensus CDK recognition site at Ser432. In vivo, selective inhibition of Cdk2 delayed and diminished Nbs1-Ser432 phosphorylation during S phase, and mutation of Ser432 to Ala or Asp increased IR-sensitivity. Therefore, by chemical genetics, we uncovered both a non-redundant requirement for Cdk2 activity in response to DNA damage and a specific target of Cdk2 within the DNA repair machinery.
Project description:Cyclin dependent kinases (cdks) regulate cell cycle progression and transcription. We report here that the transcriptional co-activator PCAF directly interacts with cdk2. This interaction is mainly produced during S and G(2)/M phases of the cell cycle. As a consequence of this association, PCAF inhibits the activity of cyclin/cdk2 complexes. This effect is specific for cdk2 because PCAF does not inhibit either cyclin D3/cdk6 or cyclin B/cdk1 activities. The inhibition is neither competitive with ATP, nor with the substrate histone H1 suggesting that somehow PCAF disturbs cyclin/cdk2 complexes. We also demonstrate that overexpression of PCAF in the cells inhibits cdk2 activity and arrests cell cycle progression at S and G(2)/M. This blockade is dependent on cdk2 because it is rescued by the simultaneous overexpression of this kinase. Moreover, we also observed that PCAF acetylates cdk2 at lysine 33. As this lysine is essential for the interaction with ATP, acetylation of this residue inhibits cdk2 activity. Thus, we report here that PCAF inhibits cyclin/cdk2 activity by two different mechanisms: (i) by somehow affecting cyclin/cdk2 interaction and (ii) by acetylating K33 at the catalytic pocket of cdk2. These findings identify a previously unknown mechanism that regulates cdk2 activity.
Project description:Aneuploidy is frequently detected in human cancers and is implicated in carcinogenesis. Pharmacologic targeting of aneuploidy is an attractive therapeutic strategy, as this would preferentially eliminate malignant over normal cells. We previously discovered that CDK2 inhibition causes lung cancer cells with more than two centrosomes to undergo multipolar cell division leading to apoptosis, defined as anaphase catastrophe. Cells with activating KRAS mutations were especially sensitive to CDK2 inhibition. Mechanisms of CDK2-mediated anaphase catastrophe and how activated KRAS enhances this effect were investigated. Live-cell imaging provided direct evidence that following CDK2 inhibition, lung cancer cells develop multipolar anaphase and undergo multipolar cell division with the resulting progeny apoptotic. The siRNA-mediated repression of the CDK2 target and centrosome protein CP110 induced anaphase catastrophe of lung cancer cells. In contrast, CP110 overexpression antagonized CDK2 inhibitor-mediated anaphase catastrophe. Furthermore, activated KRAS mutations sensitized lung cancer cells to CDK2 inhibition by deregulating CP110 expression. Thus, CP110 is a critical mediator of CDK2 inhibition-driven anaphase catastrophe. Independent examination of murine and human paired normal-malignant lung tissues revealed marked upregulation of CP110 in malignant versus normal lung. Human lung cancers with KRAS mutations had significantly lower CP110 expression as compared with KRAS wild-type cancers. Thus, a direct link was found between CP110 and CDK2 inhibitor antineoplastic response. CP110 plays a mechanistic role in response of lung cancer cells to CDK2 inhibition, especially in the presence of activated KRAS mutations.