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We have previously shown that the p57KIP2 gene, which encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, undergoes genomic imprinting and lies within a 700-kb domain of imprinted genes on 11p15, including IGF2 and H19. Loss of heterozygosity and loss of imprinting (LOI) of this region are frequently observed in Wilms' tumor (WT) and other embryonal malignancies. Although LOI of p57KIP2 was observed in some WTs (approximately 10%), allele-specific expression was preserved in most tumors examined. Because our initial studies were inconclusive concerning the absolute expression level of p57KIP2 in WT, we developed a sensitive and quantitative RNase protection assay to determine if changes in p57KIP2 expression play a role in WT. Expression of p57KIP2 was found to be virtually absent in 21 of 21 WTs compared to matched normal kidney from the same patients, as well as compared to fetal kidney. We also examined p57KIP2 expression in the normal kidney and tongue of patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS), which predisposes to WT and also involves LOI of IGF2 and H19. Although p57KIP2 was undetectable in BWS tongue, similar results were also observed in postnatal non-BWS tongue samples. Most primary skin fibroblast cultures of BWS cell lines exhibited normal imprinting of p57KIP2. However, one BWS patient did show LOI of p57KIP2 in skin fibroblasts. Thus, p57KIP2 is part of a domain of genes on 11p15 that show altered expression and, in some cases, altered imprinting in WT and BWS.
OBJECTIVE - The p21Cip1 protein is a potent stoichiometric inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase activity, and p21Cip1 mRNA expression is localized to the nonproliferative compartment of the intestinal villus, suggesting an in vivo growth-inhibitory role in the gut. The authors determined whether nontransformed rat intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) underwent reversible cell cycle arrest by contact inhibition, and determined whether increases in the relative amount of p21 associated with cyclin D/Cdk4 protein complexes were associated with cell growth arrest.
METHODS - Density arrest was achieved by prolonged culture IEC-6 in confluent conditions (5 or more days). Release from density arrest was achieved by detaching the cells from the culture plate and reseeding them at a 1:4 ratio. The DNA synthesis was estimated by [3H]-thymidine incorporation and expressed as mean plus or minus standard error of the mean (n = 4). Cyclin D1, Cdk4, and p21 mRNA and protein levels were determined by standard Northern and Western blot analyses, respectively. Cyclin D1, Cdk4, and p21 protein complex formation was analyzed by immunoprecipitating the complexes from cell lysates with an antibody to one of the constituents, followed by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blot analysis of the precipitated complexes using antibodies to the other proteins. The kinase activity of the immunoprecipitated Cdk4 was determined using recombinant Rb as substrate.
RESULTS - The IEC-6[3H]-thymidine incorporation was decreased 7.5-fold from day 1 confluence to day 7 of confluence. Twenty-four hours after release from density arrest, there was a 43-fold increase in [3H]-thymidine incorporation. Cyclin D1 and Cdk4 mRNA levels remained relatively constant during contact inhibition, whereas immunoblotting showed that the levels of cyclin D1 and Cdk4 proteins decreased by 70.9% and 68.7%, respectively, comparing day 3 with day 9 during density arrest. The levels of cyclin D1 increased 5.8-fold and Cdk4 increased by 4.4-fold by 24 hours after reseeding the day 9 density-arrested cultures, coincident with the increase in DNA synthesis. The amount of p21 associated with the cyclin D1 and Cdk4 complex in the density-arrested cells was 170% of that observed in the reseeded, proliferating cells. More important, the p21::Cdk4 ratio was 6.4-fold higher in the density-arrested (quiescent) cells as compared with rapidly proliferating cells by 24 hours after release from growth arrest. Recovery of Cdk4-dependent kinase activity occurred by 4 hours after release from growth arrest, coincident with decreased binding of p21 to the complex.
CONCLUSIONS - Intestinal epithelial cells in culture can undergo density-dependent growth arrest. This process involves downregulation of cyclin D1 and Cdk4 at the level of protein expression, whereas the mRNA levels remain relatively unchanged. Further, during contact inhibition, there is more p21 associated with cyclin D1/Cdk4, which further contributes to the inhibition of the kinase complex. The authors also have shown that the process of contact inhibition is reversible, which may explain partly the ability of the intestinal epithelium to increase proliferative activity in response to injury.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Continuous use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in humans by 40-50%. Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis who take NSAIDs, such as sulindac, undergo a regression of intestinal adenomas. Rodents exposed to carcinogens that cause colon cancer have a 50-60% reduction in the size and number of colonic tumors when treated continuously with NSAIDs. One common target for these drugs is prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase, also referred to as cyclooxygenase (COX). We and others have shown recently that COX-2 levels are increased dramatically in 85-90% of human colorectal adenocarcinomas and in 40-50% of colonic adenomas. We prepared intestinal epithelial cells that express the COX-2 gene permanently and found that they have altered adhesion properties and resist undergoing apoptosis. We report here that these cells also have a 3-fold increase in the duration of G1, lower levels of cyclin D1 protein, and a marked decrease in retinoblastoma kinase activity associated with cyclin-dependent kinase 4. The delay in G1 transit may relate to the resistance of these cells to undergo programmed cell death, which could affect their tumorigenic potential.
Prostaglandin A2 (PGA2) reversibly blocked the cell cycle progression of NIH 3T3 cells at G1 and G2/M phase. When it was applied to cells synchronized in G0 or S phase, cells were blocked at G1 and G2/M, respectively. The G2/M blockage was transient. Microinjected oncogenic leucine 61 Ras protein could not override the PGA2 induced G1 blockage, nor could previous transformation with the v-raf oncogene. The serum-induced activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase was not inhibited by PGA2 treatment. These data suggest that PGA2 blocks cell cycle progression without interfering with the cytosolic proliferative signaling pathway. Combined microinjection of E2F-1 and DP-1 proteins or microinjected adenovirus E1A protein, however, could induce S phase in cells arrested in G1 by PGA2, indicating that PGA2 does not directly inhibit the process of DNA synthesis. In quiescent cells, PGA2 blocked the normal hyperphosphorylation of the retinoblastoma susceptible gene product and the activation of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 2 and CDK4, in response to serum stimulation. PGA2 treatment elevated the p21Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1 protein expression level. These data indicate that PGA2 may arrest the cell cycle in G1 by interfering with the activation of G1 phase CDKs.