Recent work on Drosophila oogenesis has uncovered connections between cell-cycle checkpoints and pattern formation. Genes of the spindle class, which encode double-strand break repair enzymes and RNA helicases, affect oocyte polarity and the decision whether to differentiate as an oocyte or a nurse cell. (+info)
Transformation mediated by RhoA requires activity of ROCK kinases.
BACKGROUND: The Ras-related GTPase RhoA controls signalling processes required for cytoskeletal reorganisation, transcriptional regulation, and transformation. The ability of RhoA mutants to transform cells correlates not with transcription but with their ability to bind ROCK-I, an effector kinase involved in cytoskeletal reorganisation. We used a recently developed specific ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, and ROCK truncation mutants to investigate the role of ROCK kinases in transcriptional activation and transformation. RESULTS: In NIH3T3 cells, Y-27632 did not prevent the activation of serum response factor, transcription of c-fos or cell cycle re-entry following serum stimulation. Repeated treatment of NIH3T3 cells with Y-27632, however, substantially disrupted their actin fibre network but did not affect their growth rate. Y-27632 blocked focus formation by RhoA and its guanine-nucleotide exchange factors Dbl and mNET1. It did not affect the growth rate of cells transformed by Dbl and mNET1, but restored normal growth control at confluence and prevented their growth in soft agar. Y-27632 also significantly inhibited focus formation by Ras, but had no effect on the establishment or maintenance of transformation by Src. Furthermore, it significantly inhibited anchorage-independent growth of two out of four colorectal tumour cell lines. Consistent with these data, a truncated ROCK derivative exhibited weak ability to cooperate with activated Raf in focus formation assays. CONCLUSIONS: ROCK signalling is required for both the establishment and maintenance of transformation by constitutive activation of RhoA, and contributes to the Ras-transformed phenotype. These observations provide a potential explanation for the requirement for Rho in Ras-mediated transformation. Moreover, the inhibition of ROCK kinases may be of therapeutic use. (+info)
Difference between mammary epithelial cells from mature virgin and primiparous mice.
Mammary epithelial cells from mature virgin mice are similar to those from primiparous mice in several respects. However, there is one known difference. The cells from the mature virgin must traverse the cell cycle in order to become competent to make casein and enzymatically active alpha-lactalbumin in vitro; those from the primiparous animal can make these proteins without first traversing the cycle. In this regard, cells from human placental lactogen- and prolactin-treated mature virgins are, after involution, similar to those from primiparous mice. The developemental block in the cells from the mature virgin, imposed by preventing cell cycle traversal, has been partially delineated. It does not appear to reside at the levels of ultrastructural maturation or the formation of casein messenger RNA. Rather, the lesion is postranscriptional and may be at the level of translation, or posttranslational modification, or both. (+info)
The role of RBF in the introduction of G1 regulation during Drosophila embryogenesis.
The first appearance of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis, at cell cycle 17, is accompanied by the down-regulation of E2F-dependent transcription. Mutant alleles of rbf were generated and analyzed to determine the role of RBF in this process. Embryos lacking both maternal and zygotic RBF products show constitutive expression of PCNA and RNR2, two E2F-regulated genes, indicating that RBF is required for their transcriptional repression. Despite the ubiquitous expression of E2F target genes, most epidermal cells enter G1 normally. Rather than pausing in G1 until the appropriate time for cell cycle progression, many of these cells enter an ectopic S-phase. These results indicate that the repression of E2F target genes by RBF is necessary for the maintenance but not the initiation of a G1 phase. The phenotype of RBF-deficient embryos suggests that rbf has a function that is complementary to the roles of dacapo and fizzy-related in the introduction of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis. (+info)
Coupling of the cell cycle and myogenesis through the cyclin D1-dependent interaction of MyoD with cdk4.
Proliferating myoblasts express the muscle determination factor, MyoD, throughout the cell cycle in the absence of differentiation. Here we show that a mitogen-sensitive mechanism, involving the direct interaction between MyoD and cdk4, restricts myoblast differentiation to cells that have entered into the G0 phase of the cell cycle under mitogen withdrawal. Interaction between MyoD and cdk4 disrupts MyoD DNA-binding, muscle-specific gene activation and myogenic conversion of 10T1/2 cells independently of cyclin D1 and the CAK activation of cdk4. Forced induction of cyclin D1 in myotubes results in the cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation of cdk4. The specific MyoD-cdk4 interaction in dividing myoblasts, coupled with the cyclin D1-dependent nuclear targeting of cdk4, suggests a mitogen-sensitive mechanism whereby cyclin D1 can regulate MyoD function and the onset of myogenesis by controlling the cellular location of cdk4 rather than the phosphorylation status of MyoD. (+info)
Ral-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor activity opposes other Ras effectors in PC12 cells by inhibiting neurite outgrowth.
Ras proteins can activate at least three classes of downstream target proteins: Raf kinases, phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate (PI3) kinase, and Ral-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors (Ral-GEFs). In NIH 3T3 cells, activated Ral-GEFs contribute to Ras-induced cell proliferation and oncogenic transformation by complementing the activities of Raf and PI3 kinases. In PC12 cells, activated Raf and PI3 kinases mediate Ras-induced cell cycle arrest and differentiation into a neuronal phenotype. Here, we show that in PC12 cells, Ral-GEF activity acts opposite to other Ras effectors. Elevation of Ral-GEF activity induced by transfection of a mutant Ras protein that preferentially activates Ral-GEFs, or by transfection of the catalytic domain of the Ral-GEF Rgr, suppressed cell cycle arrest and neurite outgrowth induced by nerve growth factor (NGF) treatment. In addition, Rgr reduced neurite outgrowth induced by a mutant Ras protein that preferentially activates Raf kinases. Furthermore, inhibition of Ral-GEF activity by expression of a dominant negative Ral mutant accelerated cell cycle arrest and enhanced neurite outgrowth in response to NGF treatment. Ral-GEF activity may function, at least in part, through inhibition of the Rho family GTPases, CDC42 and Rac. In contrast to Ras, which was activated for hours by NGF treatment, Ral was activated for only approximately 20 min. These findings suggest that one function of Ral-GEF signaling induced by NGF is to delay the onset of cell cycle arrest and neurite outgrowth induced by other Ras effectors. They also demonstrate that Ras has the potential to promote both antidifferentiation and prodifferentiation signaling pathways through activation of distinct effector proteins. Thus, in some cell types the ratio of activities among Ras effectors and their temporal regulation may be important determinants for cell fate decisions between proliferation and differentiation. (+info)
The abundance of cell cycle regulatory protein Cdc4p is controlled by interactions between its F box and Skp1p.
Posttranslational modification of a protein by ubiquitin usually results in rapid degradation of the ubiquitinated protein by the proteasome. The transfer of ubiquitin to substrate is a multistep process. Cdc4p is a component of a ubiquitin ligase that tethers the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Cdc34p to its substrates. Among the domains of Cdc4p that are crucial for function are the F-box, which links Cdc4p to Cdc53p through Skp1p, and the WD-40 repeats, which are required for binding the substrate for Cdc34p. In addition to Cdc4p, other F-box proteins, including Grr1p and Met30p, may similarly act together with Cdc53p and Skp1p to function as ubiquitin ligase complexes. Because the relative abundance of these complexes, known collectively as SCFs, is important for cell viability, we have sought evidence of mechanisms that modulate F-box protein regulation. Here we demonstrate that the abundance of Cdc4p is subject to control by a peptide segment that we term the R-motif (for "reduced abundance"). Furthermore, we show that binding of Skp1p to the F-box of Cdc4p inhibits R-motif-dependent degradation of Cdc4p. These results suggest a general model for control of SCF activities. (+info)
Induced expression of p16(INK4a) inhibits both CDK4- and CDK2-associated kinase activity by reassortment of cyclin-CDK-inhibitor complexes.
To investigate the mode of action of the p16(INK4a) tumor suppressor protein, we have established U2-OS cells in which the expression of p16(INK4a) can be regulated by addition or removal of isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside. As expected, induction of p16(INK4a) results in a G1 cell cycle arrest by inhibiting phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) by the cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6. However, induction of p16(INK4a) also causes marked inhibition of CDK2 activity. In the case of cyclin E-CDK2, this is brought about by reassortment of cyclin, CDK, and CDK-inhibitor complexes, particularly those involving p27(KIP1). Size fractionation of the cellular lysates reveals that a substantial proportion of CDK4 participates in active kinase complexes of around 200 kDa. Upon induction of p16(INK4a), this complex is partly dissociated, and the majority of CDK4 is found in lower-molecular-weight fractions consistent with the formation of a binary complex with p16(INK4a). Sequestration of CDK4 by p16(INK4a) allows cyclin D1 to associate increasingly with CDK2, without affecting its interactions with the CIP/KIP inhibitors. Thus, upon the induction of p16(INK4a), p27(KIP1) appears to switch its allegiance from CDK4 to CDK2, and the accompanying reassortment of components leads to the inhibition of cyclin E-CDK2 by p27(KIP1) and p21(CIP1). Significantly, p16(INK4a) itself does not appear to form higher-order complexes, and the overwhelming majority remains either free or forms binary associations with CDK4 and CDK6. (+info)