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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A dominant-negative cyclin D1 mutant prevents nuclear import of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and its phosphorylation by CDK-activating kinase.

Cyclins contain two characteristic cyclin folds, each consisting of five alpha-helical bundles, which are connected to one another by a short linker peptide. The first repeat makes direct contact with cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) subunits in assembled holoenzyme complexes, whereas the second does not contribute directly to the CDK interface. Although threonine 156 in mouse cyclin D1 is predicted to lie at the carboxyl terminus of the linker peptide that separates the two cyclin folds and is buried within the cyclin subunit, mutation of this residue to alanine has profound effects on the behavior of the derived cyclin D1-CDK4 complexes. CDK4 in complexes with mutant cyclin D1 (T156A or T156E but not T156S) is not phosphorylated by recombinant CDK-activating kinase (CAK) in vitro, fails to undergo activating T-loop phosphorylation in vivo, and remains catalytically inactive and unable to phosphorylate the retinoblastoma protein. Moreover, when it is ectopically overexpressed in mammalian cells, cyclin D1 (T156A) assembles with CDK4 in the cytoplasm but is not imported into the cell nucleus. CAK phosphorylation is not required for nuclear transport of cyclin D1-CDK4 complexes, because complexes containing wild-type cyclin D1 and a CDK4 (T172A) mutant lacking the CAK phosphorylation site are efficiently imported. In contrast, enforced overexpression of the CDK inhibitor p21Cip1 together with mutant cyclin D1 (T156A)-CDK4 complexes enhanced their nuclear localization. These results suggest that cyclin D1 (T156A or T156E) forms abortive complexes with CDK4 that prevent recognition by CAK and by other cellular factors that are required for their nuclear localization. These properties enable ectopically overexpressed cyclin D1 (T156A), or a more stable T156A/T286A double mutant that is resistant to ubiquitination, to compete with endogenous cyclin D1 in mammalian cells, thereby mobilizing CDK4 into cytoplasmic, catalytically inactive complexes and dominantly inhibiting the ability of transfected NIH 3T3 fibroblasts to enter S phase.[1]


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