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1.  A Novel Mutation in the Upstream Open Reading Frame of the CDKN1B Gene Causes a MEN4 Phenotype 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003350.
The CDKN1B gene encodes the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27KIP1, an atypical tumor suppressor playing a key role in cell cycle regulation, cell proliferation, and differentiation. Impaired p27KIP1 expression and/or localization are often observed in tumor cells, further confirming its central role in regulating the cell cycle. Recently, germline mutations in CDKN1B have been associated with the inherited multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 4, an autosomal dominant syndrome characterized by varying combinations of tumors affecting at least two endocrine organs. In this study we identified a 4-bp deletion in a highly conserved regulatory upstream ORF (uORF) in the 5′UTR of the CDKN1B gene in a patient with a pituitary adenoma and a well-differentiated pancreatic neoplasm. This deletion causes the shift of the uORF termination codon with the consequent lengthening of the uORF–encoded peptide and the drastic shortening of the intercistronic space. Our data on the immunohistochemical analysis of the patient's pancreatic lesion, functional studies based on dual-luciferase assays, site-directed mutagenesis, and on polysome profiling show a negative influence of this deletion on the translation reinitiation at the CDKN1B starting site, with a consequent reduction in p27KIP1 expression. Our findings demonstrate that, in addition to the previously described mechanisms leading to reduced p27KIP1 activity, such as degradation via the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway or non-covalent sequestration, p27KIP1 activity can also be modulated by an uORF and mutations affecting uORF could change p27KIP1 expression. This study adds the CDKN1B gene to the short list of genes for which mutations that either create, delete, or severely modify their regulatory uORFs have been associated with human diseases.
Author Summary
Gene expression can be modulated at different steps on the way from DNA to protein including control of transcription, translation, and post-translational modifications. An abnormality in the regulation of mRNA and protein expression is a hallmark of many human diseases, including cancer. In some eukaryotic genes translation can be influenced by small DNA sequences termed upstream open reading frames (uORFs). These elements located upstream to the gene start codon may either negatively influence the ability of the translational machinery to reinitiate translation of the main protein or, much less frequently, stimulate protein translation by enabling the ribosomes to bypass cis-acting inhibitory elements. CDKN1B, which encodes the cell cycle inhibitor p27KIP1, includes an uORF in its 5′UTR sequence. p27KIP1 expression is often reduced in cancer, and germline mutations have been identified in CDKN1B in patients affected with a syndrome (MEN4) characterized by varying combinations of tumors in endocrine glands. Here we show that a small deletion in the uORF upstream to CDKN1B reduces translation reinitiation efficiency, leading to underexpression of p27KIP1 and coinciding with tumorigenesis. This study describes a novel mechanism by which p27KIP1 could be underexpressed in human tumors. In addition, our data provide a new insight to the unique pathogenic potential of uORFs in human diseases.
PMCID: PMC3605397  PMID: 23555276
2.  Effect of hypoxia and Beraprost sodium on human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation: the role of p27kip1 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):77.
Hypoxia induces the proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) in vivo and in vitro, and prostacyclin analogues are thought to inhibit the growth of PASMC. Previous studies suggest that p27kip1, a kind of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, play an important role in the smooth muscle cell proliferation. However, the mechanism of hypoxia and the subcellular interactions between p27kip1 and prostacyclin analogues in human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (HPASMC) are not fully understood.
We investigated the role of p27kip1 in the ability of Beraprost sodium (BPS; a stable prostacyclin analogue) to inhibit the proliferation of HPASMC during hypoxia. To clarify the biological effects of hypoxic air exposure and BPS on HPASMC, the cells were cultured in a hypoxic chamber under various oxygen concentrations (0.1–21%). Thereafter, DNA synthesis was measured as bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation, the cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry with propidium iodide staining. The p27kip1 mRNA and protein expression and it's stability was measured by real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting. Further, we assessed the role of p27kip1 in HPASMC proliferation using p27kip1 gene knockdown using small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection.
Although severe hypoxia (0.1% oxygen) suppressed the proliferation of serum-stimulated HPASMC, moderate hypoxia (2% oxygen) enhanced proliferation in accordance with enhanced p27kip1 protein degradation, whereas BPS suppressed HPASMC proliferation under both hypoxic and normoxic conditions by suppressing p27kip1 degradation with intracellular cAMP-elevation. The 8-bromo-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (8-Br-cAMP), a cAMP analogue, had similar action as BPS in the regulation of p27kip1. Moderate hypoxia did not affect the stability of p27kip1 protein expression, but PDGF, known as major hypoxia-induced growth factors, significantly decreased p27kip1 protein stability. We also demonstrated that BPS and 8-Br-cAMP suppressed HPASMC proliferation under both hypoxic and normoxic conditions by blocking p27kip1 mRNA degradation. Furthermore, p27kip1 gene silencing partially attenuated the effects of BPS and partially restored hypoxia-induced proliferation.
Our study suggests that moderate hypoxia induces HPASMC proliferation, which is partially dependent of p27kip1 down-regulation probably via the induction of growth factors such as PDGF, and BPS inhibits both the cell proliferation and p27kip1 mRNA degradation through cAMP pathway.
PMCID: PMC2164950  PMID: 17974037
3.  A new tumour suppression mechanism by p27Kip1: EGFR down-regulation mediated by JNK/c-Jun pathway inhibition 
Biochemical Journal  2014;463(Pt 3):383-392.
p27Kip1 is a potent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases that drive G1-to-S cell-cycle transition. Reduced p27Kip1 expression is prevalent in a wide range of human tumours; however, the exact mechanism(s) of p27Kip1-mediated tumour suppression remains obscure. In the present study, we identified a close inverse relationship between p27Kip1 and EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) expression: the parental T24 human bladder cancer cells had high p27Kip1 expression but low EGFR expression and, in striking contrast, the metastatic derivative of T24 (T24T) had low p27Kip1 expression but high EGFR expression. This relationship was also found in various human cancer tissues, and was not only just correlative but also causal; depletion of p27Kip1 in MEF (mouse embryonic fibroblast) cells resulted in markedly elevated EGFR expression, a result reproducible with an Egfr promoter-luciferase reporter in both T24 and MEF cells, suggesting transcriptional repression of EGFR by p27Kip1. Indeed, p27Kip1 was found to regulate EGFR expression via the JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase)/c-Jun transcription factor: p27Kip1 deficiency activated JNK/c-Jun, whereas inhibition of JNK/c-Jun by dominant-negative mutants dramatically repressed Egfr transcription. Furthermore, the proximal promoter of the Egfr gene was crucial for its transcription, where the recruiting activity of c-Jun was much greater in p27Kip1−/− cells than in p27Kip1+/+ cells. Introduction of GFP–p27Kip1 into T24T cells suppressed JNK/c-Jun activation, EGFR expression and anchorage-independent growth. The results of the present study demonstrate that p27Kip1 suppresses JNK/c-Jun activation and EGFR expression in MEFs and human bladder cancer cells, and the results obtained are consistent with those from human cancer specimens. The present study provides new insights into p27Kip1 suppression of cancer cell growth, migration and metastasis.
An inverse relationship between p27Kip1 and EGFR expression in parental T24 human bladder cancer cells and various human cancer tissues was found. Depletion of p27Kip1 in cells markedly elevated EGFR expression through transcriptional repression of Egfr by p27Kip1 via the JNK/c-Jun cascade.
PMCID: PMC4209780  PMID: 25121353
bladder cancer; c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/c-Jun pathway; epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); p27Kip1; signal transduction pathway; AP-1, activator protein 1; BME, basal medium Eagle; CDK, cyclin-dependent kinase; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HSF-1, heat-shock factor 1; Hsp, heat-shock protein; IHC, immunohistochemistry; JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase; MEF, mouse embryonic fibroblast; RT, reverse transcription; SP1, specificity protein 1
4.  Partial hepatectomy in rats results in immediate down-regulation of p27Kip1 in residual liver tissue by transcriptional and post-translational processes 
Purpose: The cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor p27Kip1 may be involved in regulating re-entry of residual hepatocytes into the cell cycle upon loss of liver tissue by partial hepatectomy (PH). As yet, changes in Kip1 expression during the initial period following PH are not well-characterized. We investigated immediate changes in Kip1 mRNA and protein levels as well as changes in Kip1 phosphorylation in liver tissue within the relevant time window between surgery and the onset of DNA synthesis at 10–12 h.
Methods: We used real-time PCR, quantitative Western blotting, and immune histochemistry on tissue samples of adult rats obtained during or between 2 and 10 h after surgical removal of two thirds of the liver to analyze Kip1 mRNA or protein levels, respectively, or to quantify nuclear expression of Kip1.
Results: Kip1 mRNA was down-regulated within 4 h after PH by 60% and remained unchanged thereafter up to 10 h. With a lag phase of 2–3 h, Kip1-protein was down-regulated to a level of 40% of the control. The level of Thr187-phosphorylated Kip1 started to increase at 4 h and reached a maximum level at 8–10 h after PH. Kip1 immunoreactivity was observed in 30% of the hepatocytes before PH. Within 6–8 h after PH, more than half of the hepatocytes lost nuclear Kip1 signals. Kip1-specific micro-RNAs (miRNA221, miRNA222) were not changed upon PH.
Conclusions: A portion of hepatocytes in adult rats constitutively express Kip1 and down-regulate Kip1 immediately upon PH. This response involves transcriptional processes (loss of Kip1 mRNA) as well as accelerated degradation of existing protein (increase in pThr187-phosphorylation mediating polyubiquitinylation and proteasomal degradation of Kip1). Kip1 down-regulation occurs precisely within the intervall between surgery and onset of DNA synthesis which supports the hypothesis that it mediates activation of G0/0S-phase Cdk/cyclin-complexes and re-entry of hepatocytes into the cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC3680744  PMID: 23781207
cell cycle regulator; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor; Kip1; compensatory growth; liver regeneration; rat hepatocytes; cell proliferation
5.  Regulation of expression by promoters versus internal ribosome entry site in the 5′-untranslated sequence of the human cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27kip1 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(12):3763-3771.
p27kip1 regulates cell proliferation by binding to and inhibiting the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases and its expression oscillates with cell cycle. Recently, it has been suggested from studies using the traditional dicistronic DNA assay that the expression of p27kip1 is regulated by internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation initiation, and several RNA-binding protein factors were thought to play some role in this regulation. Considering the inevitable drawbacks of the dicistronic DNA assay, which could mislead a promoter activity or alternative splicing to IRES as previously demonstrated, we decided to reanalyze the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) sequence of p27kip1 and test whether it contains an IRES element or a promoter using more stringent methods, such as dicistronic RNA and promoterless dicistronic and monocistronic DNA assays. We found that the 5′-UTR sequence of human p27kip1 does not have any significant IRES activity. The previously observed IRES activities are likely generated from the promoter activities present in the 5′-UTR sequences of p27kip1. The findings in this study indicate that transcriptional regulation likely plays an important role in p27kip1 expression, and the mechanism of regulation of p27 expression by RNA-binding factors needs to be re-examined. The findings in this study also further enforce the importance that more stringent studies, such as promoterless dicistronic and monocistronic DNA and dicistronic RNA tests, are required to safeguard any future claims of cellular IRES.
PMCID: PMC1174905  PMID: 16006622
6.  miR-222 is upregulated in epithelial ovarian cancer and promotes cell proliferation by downregulating P27kip1 
Oncology Letters  2013;6(2):507-512.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the leading cause of female reproductive system cancer mortality in females. The majority of cases of ovarian carcinomas are not identified until a late stage. Identifying the molecular changes that occur during the development and progression of ovarian cancer is an urgent requirement. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as gene expression regulators that induce mRNA degradation or translation blockade through pairing to the 3′ untranslated region (3-‘UTR) of the target mRNAs. In the present study, miR-222 was observed to be frequently upregulated in ovarian cancer. miR-222 upregulation induced an enhancement of ovarian cancer cell proliferation potential, possibly by downregulating its target, P27Kip1. A bioinformatic analysis showed that the 3′-UTR of the P27Kip1 mRNA contained a highly-conserved putative miR-222 binding site. Luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that P27Kip1 was a direct target of miR-222. Consistently, there was an inverse correlation between the P27Kip1 and miR-222 expression levels in the ovarian cancer cell lines and tissues. Overall, the present results suggest that miR-222 upregulation in human ovarian cancer may promote ovarian cancer cell proliferation during ovarian carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3789083  PMID: 24137356
epithelial ovarian cancer; miR-222; P27Kip1; carcinogenesis
7.  MicroRNA-21 inhibits p57Kip2 expression in prostate cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13(1):212.
p57Kip2, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is considered to be a candidate tumor suppressor gene that has been implicated in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and sporadic cancers. In addition, decreased expression of p57Kip2 protein has been frequently observed in pancreatic, lung, breast, bladder, gastrointestinal tract and prostate cancers. However, p57Kip2 gene mutations are rare in these cancers suggesting that other unknown mechanisms might be at play in reducing its expression. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanism of down-regulation of p57Kip2 in prostate cancer.
We observed a significant negative correlation between the expression of p57Kip2 and microRNA-21 (miR-21) in prostate cancer samples and after androgen deprivation with castration in the CWR22 human prostate cancer xenograft model. We report that miR-21 targeted the coding region and decreased p57Kip2 mRNA and protein levels in prostate cancer cells. Conversely, inhibition of endogenous miR-21 by an anti-miR-21 inhibitor strongly induced p57Kip2 expression. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of p57Kip2 reversed the effects of the anti-miR-21 inhibitor on cell migration and anchorage-independent cell growth.
Our results indicate that miR-21 is able to downregulate p57Kip2 expression by targeting the coding region of the gene and is also able to attenuate p57Kip2 mediated functional responses. This is the first report demonstrating that p57Kip2 is a novel target of miR-21 in prostate cancer and revealing a novel oncogenic function of this microRNA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-212) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4168249  PMID: 25216674
p57Kip2; microRNA-21 and prostate cancer
8.  Expression of constitutively active 4EBP-1 enhances p27Kip1 expression and inhibits proliferation of MCF7 breast cancer cells 
Eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) is essential for cap-dependent initiation of translation. Cell proliferation is associated with increased activity of eIF4E and elevated expression of eIF4E leads to tumorigenic transformation. Many tumors express very high levels of eIF4E and this may be a critical factor in progression of the disease. In contrast, overexpression of 4EBP, an inhibitor of eIF4E, leads to cell cycle arrest and phenotypic reversion of some transformed cells.
A constitutively active form of 4EBP-1 was inducibly expressed in the human breast cancer cell line MCF7. Induction of constitutively active 4EBP-1 led to cell cycle arrest. This was not associated with a general inhibition of protein synthesis but rather with changes in specific cell cycle regulatory proteins. Cyclin D1 was downregulated while levels of the CDK inhibitor p27Kip1 were increased. The levels of cyclin E and CDK2 were unaffected but the activity of CDK2 was significantly reduced due to increased association with p27Kip1. The increase in p27Kip1 did not reflect changes in p27Kip1 mRNA or degradation rates. Rather, it was associated with enhanced synthesis of the protein, even though 4EBP-1 is expected to inhibit translation. This could be explained, at least in part, by the ability of the p27Kip1 5'-UTR to mediate cap-independent translation, which was also enhanced by expression of constitutively active 4EBP-1.
Expression of active 4EBP-1 in MCF7 leads to cell cycle arrest which is associated with downregulation of cyclin D1 and upregulation of p27Kip1. Upregulation of p27Kip1reflects increased synthesis which corresponds to enhanced cap-independent translation through the 5'-UTR of the p27Kip1 mRNA.
PMCID: PMC151675  PMID: 12633504
9.  Polypyrimidine Tract-Binding Protein Enhances the Internal Ribosomal Entry Site-Dependent Translation of p27Kip1 mRNA and Modulates Transition from G1 to S Phase 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(4):1283-1297.
The p27Kip1 protein plays a critical role in the regulation of cell proliferation through the inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase activity. Translation of p27Kip1 is directed by an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) in the 5′ nontranslated region of p27Kip1 mRNA. Here, we report that polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) specifically enhances the IRES activity of p27Kip1 mRNA through an interaction with the IRES element. We found that addition of PTB to an in vitro translation system and overexpression of PTB in 293T cells augmented the IRES activity of p27Kip1 mRNA but that knockdown of PTB by introduction of PTB-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) diminished the IRES activity of p27Kip1 mRNA. Moreover, the G1 phase in the cell cycle (which is maintained in part by p27Kip1) was shortened in cells depleted of PTB by siRNA knockdown. 12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced differentiation in HL60 cells was used to examine PTB-induced modulation of p27Kip1 protein synthesis during differentiation. The IRES activity of p27Kip1 mRNA in HL60 cells was increased by TPA treatment (with a concomitant increase in PTB protein levels), but the levels of p27Kip1 mRNA remained unchanged. Together, these data suggest that PTB modulates cell cycle and differentiation, at least in part, by enhancing the IRES activity of p27Kip1 mRNA.
PMCID: PMC548013  PMID: 15684381
10.  Vitamin E δ-Tocotrienol Induces p27Kip1-Dependent Cell-Cycle Arrest in Pancreatic Cancer Cells via an E2F-1-Dependent Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e52526.
Vitamin E δ-tocotrienol has been shown to have antitumor activity, but the precise molecular mechanism by which it inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated that δ-tocotrienol exerted significant cell growth inhibition pancreatic ductal cancer (PDCA) cells without affecting normal human pancreatic ductal epithelial cell growth. We also showed that δ-tocotrienol-induced growth inhibition occurred concomitantly with G1 cell-cycle arrest and increased p27Kip1 nuclear accumulation. This finding is significant considering that loss of nuclear p27Kip1 expression is a well-established adverse prognostic factor in PDCA. Furthermore, δ-tocotrienol inactivated RAF-MEK-ERK signaling, a pathway known to suppress p27Kip1 expression. To determine whether p27Kip1 induction is required for δ-tocotrienol inhibition of PDCA cell proliferation, we stably silenced the CDKN1B gene, encoding p27Kip1, in MIAPaCa-2 PDCA cells and demonstrated that p27Kip1 silencing suppressed cell-cycle arrest induced by δ-tocotrienol. Furthermore, δ-tocotrienol induced p27Kip1 mRNA expression but not its protein degradation. p27Kip1 gene promoter activity was induced by δ-tocotrienol through the promoter's E2F-1 binding site, and this activity was attenuated by E2F-1 depletion using E2F-1 small interfering RNA. Finally, decreased proliferation, mediated by Ki67 and p27Kip1 expression by δ-tocotrienol, was confirmed in vivo in a nude mouse xenograft pancreatic cancer model. Our findings reveal a new mechanism, dependent on p27Kip1 induction, by which δ-tocotrienol can inhibit proliferation in PDCA cells, providing a new rationale for p27Kip1 as a biomarker for δ-tocotrienol efficacy in pancreatic cancer prevention and therapy.
PMCID: PMC3564846  PMID: 23393547
11.  Krüppel-like Factor 4 Induces p27Kip1 Expression in and Suppresses the Growth and Metastasis of Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
Cancer research  2008;68(12):4631-4639.
The zinc finger transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) has been implicated in both tumor suppression and progression. However, its function in pancreatic cancer has not been well characterized. Here, we show that pancreatic cancer cell lines expressed various levels of KLF4 RNA and protein. Ectopic expression of KLF4 by FG and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells resulted in cell cycle arrest and marked inhibition of cell growth in vitro and attenuation of tumor growth and metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model. Overexpression of KLF4 also led to significant induction of p27Kip1 expression, at both the RNA and protein levels, in a dose- and time-dependent manner, indicating that KLF4 transcriptionally regulates the expression of p27Kip1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays consistently showed that KLF4 protein physically interacts with the p27Kip1 promoter. Promoter deletion and point mutation analyses indicated that a region between nucleotides −435 and −60 of the p27Kip1 promoter and intact of the three KLF4-binding sites within that region were required for the full induction of p27Kip1 promoter activity by KLF4. Our findings suggest that KLF4 transactivates p27Kip1 expression and inhibits the growth and metastasis of human pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC2481517  PMID: 18559508
12.  DFMO/eflornithine inhibits migration and invasion downstream of MYCN and involves p27Kip1 activity in neuroblastoma 
International Journal of Oncology  2013;42(4):1219-1228.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial pediatric tumor. NB patients over 18 months of age at the time of diagnosis are often in the later stages of the disease, present with widespread dissemination, and often possess MYCN tumor gene amplification. MYCN is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of a number of genes including ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of polyamines. Inhibiting ODC in NB cells produces many deleterious effects including G1 cell cycle arrest, inhibition of cell proliferation, and decreased tumor growth, making ODC a promising target for drug interference. DFMO treatment leads to the accumulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 protein and causes p27Kip1/Rb-coupled G1 cell cycle arrest in MYCN-amplified NB tumor cells through a process that involves p27Kip1 phosphorylation at residues Ser10 and Thr198. While p27Kip1 is well known for its role as a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, recent studies have revealed a novel function of p27Kip1 as a regulator of cell migration and invasion. In the present study we found that p27Kip1 regulates the migration and invasion in NB and that these events are dependent on the state of phosphorylation of p27Kip1. DFMO treatments induced MYCN protein downregulation and phosphorylation of Akt/PKB (Ser473) and GSK3-β (Ser9), and polyamine supplementation alleviated the DFMO-induced effects. Importantly, we provide strong evidence that p27Kip1 mRNA correlates with clinical features and the survival probability of NB patients.
PMCID: PMC3622674  PMID: 23440295
DFMO; Kaplan-Meier survival plot; metastasis; MYCN; neuroblastoma; ornithine decarboxylase; polyamines; p27Kip
13.  Cortactin Modulates RhoA Activation and Expression of Cip/Kip Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors To Promote Cell Cycle Progression in 11q13-Amplified Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells ▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(21):5057-5070.
The cortactin oncoprotein is frequently overexpressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), often due to amplification of the encoding gene (CTTN). While cortactin overexpression enhances invasive potential, recent research indicates that it also promotes cell proliferation, but how cortactin regulates the cell cycle machinery is unclear. In this article we report that stable short hairpin RNA-mediated cortactin knockdown in the 11q13-amplified cell line FaDu led to increased expression of the Cip/Kip cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CDKIs) p21WAF1/Cip1, p27Kip1, and p57Kip2 and inhibition of S-phase entry. These effects were associated with increased binding of p21WAF1/Cip1 and p27Kip1 to cyclin D1- and E1-containing complexes and decreased retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation. Cortactin regulated expression of p21WAF1/Cip1 and p27Kip1 at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels, respectively. The direct roles of p21WAF1/Cip1, p27Kip1, and p57Kip2 downstream of cortactin were confirmed by the transient knockdown of each CDKI by specific small interfering RNAs, which led to partial rescue of cell cycle progression. Interestingly, FaDu cells with reduced cortactin levels also exhibited a significant diminution in RhoA expression and activity, together with decreased expression of Skp2, a critical component of the SCF ubiquitin ligase that targets p27Kip1 and p57Kip2 for degradation. Transient knockdown of RhoA in FaDu cells decreased expression of Skp2, enhanced the level of Cip/Kip CDKIs, and attenuated S-phase entry. These findings identify a novel mechanism for regulation of proliferation in 11q13-amplified HNSCC cells, in which overexpressed cortactin acts via RhoA to decrease expression of Cip/Kip CDKIs, and highlight Skp2 as a downstream effector for RhoA in this process.
PMCID: PMC2953065  PMID: 20805359
14.  Repression of p27kip1 synthesis by platelet-derived growth factor in BALB/c 3T3 cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(8):4327-4336.
We have investigated the regulation of p27kip1, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in BALB/c 3T3 cells during growth factor-stimulated transition from quiescence (G0) to a proliferative (G1) state. The level of p27kip1 protein falls dramatically after mitogenic stimulation and is accompanied by a decrease in cyclin E associated p27kip1, as well as a transient increase in cyclin D1-associated p27kip1 that later declines concomitantly with the loss of total p27kip1. Analysis of metabolically labelled cells revealed that cyclin D2, cyclin D3, and cdk4 were also partnered with p27kip1 in quiescent BALB/c 3T3 cells and that this association decreased after platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) treatment. Furthermore, the decline in p27kip1 and reduced association with cyclin D3, initiated by the addition of PDGF but not plasma-derived factors, suggested that these changes are involved in competence, the first step in the exit from G0. Synthesis of p27kip1 as determined by incorporation of [35S]methionine was repressed upon mitogenic stimulation, and PDGF was sufficient to elicit this repression within 2 to 3 h. Pulse-chase experiments demonstrated the reduced rate of synthesis was not the result of an increased rate of degradation. Full repression of p27kip1 synthesis required the continued presence of PDGF and failed to occur in the presence of the RNA polymerase inhibitor 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole riboside. These characteristics demonstrate that repression was a late effect of PDGF and was consistent with our finding that conditional expression of activated H-ras did not affect synthesis of p27kip1. Northern (RNA) analysis of p27kip1 mRNA revealed that the repression was not accompanied by a corresponding decrease in p27kip1 mRNA, suggesting that the PDGF-regulated decrease in p27kip1 expression occurred through a translational mechanism.
PMCID: PMC231431  PMID: 8754833
15.  A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the human p27kip1 gene (-838C>A) affects basal promoter activity and the risk of myocardial infarction 
BMC Biology  2004;2:5.
Excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells and leukocytes within the artery wall is a major event in the development of atherosclerosis. The growth suppressor p27kip1 associates with several cyclin-dependent kinase/cyclin complexes, thereby abrogating their capacity to induce progression through the cell cycle. Recent studies have implicated p27kip1 in the control of neointimal hyperplasia. For instance, p27kip1 ablation in apolipoprotein-E-null mice enhanced arterial cell proliferation and accelerated atherogenesis induced by dietary cholesterol. Therefore, p27kip1 is a candidate gene to modify the risk of developing atherosclerosis and associated ischaemic events (i.e., myocardial infarction and stroke).
In this study we found three common single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the human p27kip1 gene (+326T>G [V109G], -79C>T, and -838C>A). The frequency of -838A carriers was significantly increased in myocardial infarction patients compared to healthy controls (odds ratio [OR] = 1.73, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] = 1.12–2.70). In addition, luciferase reporter constructs driven by the human p27kip1 gene promoter containing A at position -838 had decreased basal transcriptional activity when transiently transfected in Jurkat cells, compared with constructs bearing C in -838 (P = 0.04).
These data suggest that -838A is associated with reduced p27kip1 promoter activity and increased risk of myocardial infarction.
PMCID: PMC400507  PMID: 15061869
myocardial infarction; p27kip1; single-nucleotide polymorphisms
16.  Differential Regulation of P27Kip1 Expression by Mitogenic and Hypertrophic Factors 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;148(3):543-556.
Platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) acts as a full mitogen for cultured aortic smooth muscle cells (SMC), promoting DNA synthesis and cell proliferation. In contrast, angiotensin II (Ang II) induces cellular hypertrophy as a result of increased protein synthesis, but is unable to drive cells into S phase. In an effort to understand the molecular basis for this differential growth response, we have examined the downstream effects of PDGF-BB and Ang II on regulators of the cell cycle machinery in rat aortic SMC. Both PDGF-BB and Ang II were found to stimulate the accumulation of G1 cyclins with similar kinetics. In addition, little difference was observed in the expression level of their catalytic partners, Cdk4 and Cdk2. However, while both factors increased the enzymatic activity of Cdk4, only PDGF-BB stimulated Cdk2 activity in late G1 phase. The lack of activation of Cdk2 in Ang II-treated cells was causally related to the failure of Ang II to stimulate phosphorylation of the enzyme on threonine and to downregulate p27Kip1 expression. By contrast, exposure to PDGF-BB resulted in a progressive and dramatic reduction in the level of p27Kip1 protein. The time course of p27Kip1 decline was correlated with a reduced rate of synthesis and an increased rate of degradation of the protein. Importantly, the repression of p27Kip1 synthesis by PDGF-BB was associated with a marked attenuation of Kip1 gene transcription and a corresponding decrease in Kip1 mRNA accumulation. We also show that the failure of Ang II to promote S phase entry is not related to the autocrine production of transforming growth factor-β1 by aortic SMC. These results identify p27Kip1 as an important regulator of the phenotypic response of vascular SMC to mitogenic and hypertrophic stimuli.
PMCID: PMC2174813  PMID: 10662779
growth factors; cell cycle; CDK inhibitors; gene expression; smooth muscle cells
17.  ZAC, LIT1 (KCNQ1OT1) and p57KIP2 (CDKN1C) are in an imprinted gene network that may play a role in Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(8):2650-2660.
Loss of genomic imprinting is involved in a number of developmental abnormalities and cancers. ZAC is an imprinted gene expressed from the paternal allele of chromosome 6q24 within a region known to harbor a tumor suppressor gene for several types of neoplasia. p57KIP2 (CDKN1C) is a maternally expressed gene located on chromosome 11p15.5 which encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that may also act as a tumor suppressor gene. Mutations in ZAC and p57KIP2 have been implicated in transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TNDB) and Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, respectively. Patients with these diseases share many characteristics. Here we show that mouse Zac1 and p57Kip2 have a strikingly similar expression pattern. ZAC, a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein, binds within the CpG island of LIT1 (KCNQ1OT1), a paternally expressed, anti-sense RNA thought to negatively regulate p57KIP2 in cis. ZAC induces LIT1 transcription in a methylation-dependent manner. Our data suggest that ZAC may regulate p57KIP2 through LIT1, forming part of a novel signaling pathway regulating cell growth. Mutations in ZAC may, therefore, contribute to Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome. Furthermore, we find changes in DNA methylation at the LIT1 putative imprinting control region in two patients with TNDB.
PMCID: PMC1097765  PMID: 15888726
18.  Two tumor suppressors, p27Kip1 and Patched-1, collaborate to prevent medulloblastoma 
Two cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p18Ink4c and p27Kip1, are required for proper cerebellar development. Loss of either of these proteins conferred a proliferative advantage to granule neuron progenitors, although inactivation of Kip1 exerted a greater effect. Mice heterozygous for Patched1 (Ptc1+/−) that are either heterozygous or nullizygous for Kip1 developed medulloblastoma (MB) rapidly and with high penetrance. All tumors from Ptc1+/−;Kip1+/− or Ptc1+/−;Kip1−/− mice failed to express the wild type Ptc1 allele, consistent with its role as a canonical “two-hit” tumor suppressor. In contrast, expression of the wild type p27Kip1 protein was invariably maintained in MBs arising in Ptc1+/−;Kip1+/− mice, indicating that Kip1 is haploinsufficient for tumor suppression. Although MBs occurring in Ptc1+/− mice were histopathologically heterogeneous and contained intermixed regions of both rapidly proliferating and nondividing more differentiated cells, tumors that also lacked Kip1 were uniformly less differentiated, more highly proliferative, and invasive. Molecular analysis showed that the latter MBs exhibited constitutive activation of the Sonic hedgehog signaling pathway without loss of functional p53. Apart from gains or losses of single chromosomes, with gain of chromosome 6 being the most frequent, no other chromosomal anomalies were identified by spectral karyotyping, and half of the MBs so examined retained a normal karyotype. In this respect, this mouse MB model recapitulates the vast majority of human MBs that do not sustain TP53 mutations and are not aneuploid.
PMCID: PMC2637533  PMID: 19147535
p27Kip1; p18Ink4c; Patched-1; medulloblastoma; cerebellum
19.  p27Kip1 induces an accumulation of the repressor complexes of E2F and inhibits expression of the E2F-regulated genes. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1997;8(9):1815-1827.
p27Kip1 is an inhibitor of the cyclin-dependent kinases and it plays an inhibitory role in the progression of cell cycle through G1 phase. To investigate the mechanism of cell cycle inhibition by p27Kip1, we constructed a cell line that inducibly expresses p27Kip1 upon addition of isopropyl-1-thio-beta-D-galactopyranoside in the culture medium. Isopropyl-1-thio-beta-D-galactopyranoside-induced expression of p27Kip1 in these cells causes a specific reduction in the expression of the E2F-regulated genes such as cyclin E, cyclin A, and dihydrofolate reductase. The reduction in the expression of these genes correlates with the p27Kip1-induced accumulation of the repressor complexes of the E2F family of factors (E2Fs). Our previous studies indicated that p21WAF1 could disrupt the interaction between cyclin/cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (cdk2) and the E2F repressor complexes E2F-p130 and E2F-p107. We show that p27Kip1, like p21WAF1, disrupts cyclin/cdk2-containing complexes of E2F-p130 leading to the accumulation of the E2F-p130 complexes, which is found in growth-arrested cells. In transient transfection assays, expression of p27Kip1 specifically inhibits transcription of a promoter containing E2F-binding sites. Mutants of p27Kip1 harboring changes in the cyclin- and cdk2-binding motifs are deficient in inhibiting transcription from the E2F sites containing reporter gene. Moreover, these mutants of p27Kip1 are also impaired in disrupting the interaction between cyclin/cdk2 and the repressor complexes of E2Fs. Taken together, these observations suggest that p27Kip1 reduces expression of the E2F-regulated genes by generating repressor complexes of E2Fs. Furthermore, the results also demonstrate that p27Kip1 inhibits expression of cyclin A and cyclin E, which are critical for progression through the G1-S phases.
PMCID: PMC305739  PMID: 9307976
20.  "Nutritional and chemopreventive anti-cancer agents up-regulate expression of p27Kip1, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in mouse JB6 epidermal and human MCF7, MDA-MB-321 and AU565 breast cancer cells" 
p27(Kip1) is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. When up-regulated, p27 inhibits G1-to-S phase transition of the cell cycle. This report addresses the question of whether various nutritional and chemopreventive anti-cancer agents up-regulate the expression of p27 in preneoplastic and neoplastic cells.
Experimental evidence presented in the first half of this report shows that these agents fairly faithfully up-regulate expression of p27 in mouse epidermal (JB6) and human breast cancer (MCF7, MDA-MB-321, and AU565) cells. Up-regulation appears to be specific to p27 because expression of cyclin D1, E, and A, and p21Cip1/Waf1 was not modulated by these agents. Up-regulation of the expression of p27 is likely due to the activation of translation rather than transcription of p27 because (a) up-regulation is mediated by the 5'-untranslated region (-575) of the p27 gene and (b) the antibiotic actinomycin D, an inhibitor of transcription, did not attenuate the up-regulation of p27. This latter finding is likely to preclude the existence of cryptic transcription factor binding site(s) in the 5'-untranslated region of p27 gene. The experimental evidence, presented in the second half of this report, was obtained using the 5'-untranslated region (-575) of p27 gene. The evidence suggests that cancer preventive agents up-regulate expression of p27 by at least four different molecular signaling pathways: (a) Caloric restriction is likely to up-regulate p27 expression via 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK; a metabolic energy sensor or cellular fuel gauge), tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Amino acid deficiencies also up-regulate the expression of p27 using some components of this pathway. (b) 4-Hydroxytamoxifen (but not tamoxifen), genistein (but not genistin), daidzein, and probably other nutritional and chemopreventive anti-cancer agents could up-regulate expression of p27 via receptor protein tyrosine kinases (RPTKs), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), phosphoinosite-dependent kinase (PDK), Akt/PKB and mTOR. (c) Expression of p27 could also be up-regulated via RPTKs followed by MAPKs – MEK, ERK and p38MAPK – and probably MNK. Finally, (d) global hypomethylation of 5'-m7G cap of mRNAs could also up-regulate expression of p27.
Based on these findings, we conclude that various nutritional and chemopreventive anti-cancer agents up-regulate expression of p27 in (pre)neoplastic cells.
PMCID: PMC1559648  PMID: 16899133
21.  CSIG Inhibits PTEN Translation in Replicative Senescence▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(20):6290-6301.
Using a suppressive subtractive hybridization system, we identified CSIG (cellular senescence-inhibited gene protein; RSL1D1) that was abundant in young human diploid fibroblast cells but declined upon replicative senescence. Overexpression or knockdown of CSIG did not influence p21Cip1 and p16INK4a expressions. Instead, CSIG negatively regulated PTEN and p27Kip1 expressions, in turn promoting cell proliferation. In PTEN-silenced HEK 293 cells and PTEN-deficient human glioblastoma U87MG cells, the effect of CSIG on p27Kip1 expression and cell division was abolished, suggesting that PTEN was required for the role of CSIG on p27Kip1 regulation and cell cycle progression. Investigation into the underlying mechanism revealed that the regulation of PTEN by CSIG was achieved through a translational suppression mechanism. Further study showed that CSIG interacted with PTEN mRNA in the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) and that knockdown of CSIG led to increased luciferase activity of a PTEN 5′ UTR-luciferase reporter. Moreover, overexpression of CSIG significantly delayed the progression of replicative senescence, while knockdown of CSIG expression accelerated replicative senescence. Knockdown of PTEN diminished the effect of CSIG on cellular senescence. Our findings indicate that CSIG acts as a novel regulatory component of replicative senescence, which requires PTEN as a mediator and involves in a translational regulatory mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2577433  PMID: 18678645
22.  Homeodomain Transcription Factor Phox2a, via Cyclic AMP-Mediated Activation, Induces p27Kip1 Transcription, Coordinating Neural Progenitor Cell Cycle Exit and Differentiation▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(23):8826-8839.
Mechanisms coordinating neural progenitor cell cycle exit and differentiation are incompletely understood. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 is transcriptionally induced, switching specific neural progenitors from proliferation to differentiation. However, neuronal differentiation-specific transcription factors mediating p27Kip1 transcription have not been identified. We demonstrate the homeodomain transcription factor Phox2a, required for central nervous system (CNS)- and neural crest (NC)-derived noradrenergic neuron differentiation, coordinates cell cycle exit and differentiation by inducing p27Kip1 transcription. Phox2a transcription and activation in the CNS-derived CAD cell line and primary NC cells is mediated by combined cyclic AMP (cAMP) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) signaling. In the CAD cellular model, cAMP and BMP2 signaling initially induces proliferation of the undifferentiated precursors, followed by p27Kip1 transcription, G1 arrest, and neuronal differentiation. Small interfering RNA silencing of either Phox2a or p27Kip1 suppresses p27Kip1 transcription and neuronal differentiation, suggesting a causal link between p27Kip1 expression and differentiation. Conversely, ectopic Phox2a expression via the Tet-off expression system promotes accelerated CAD cell neuronal differentiation and p27Kip1 transcription only in the presence of cAMP signaling. Importantly, endogenous or ectopically expressed Phox2a activated by cAMP signaling binds homeodomain cis-acting elements of the p27Kip1 promoter in vivo and mediates p27Kip1-luciferase expression in CAD and NC cells. We conclude that developmental cues of cAMP signaling causally link Phox2a activation with p27Kip1 transcription, thereby coordinating neural progenitor cell cycle exit and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC1636809  PMID: 16982676
23.  MicroRNA-221-222 Regulate the Cell-Cycle in Mast Cells 
MicroRNAs constitute a large family of small non-coding RNAs that have emerged as key post-transcriptional regulators in a wide variety of organisms. Because any one miRNA can potentially regulate expression of a distinct set of genes, differential miRNA expression can shape the repertoire of proteins that are actually expressed during development, differentiation or disease. Here, we have used mast cells as a model to investigate the role of miRNAs in differentiated innate immune cells, and found that miR-221-222 are significantly up-regulated upon mast cell activation. Using both bioinformatics and experimental approaches, we identified some signaling pathways, transcription factors and potential cis-regulatory regions that control miR-221-222 transcription. Overexpression of miR-221-222 in a model mast cell-line perturbed cell morphology and cell cycle regulation without altering viability. While in stimulated cells miR-221-222 partially counteracted expression of the cell-cycle inhibitor p27kip1, we found that in the mouse alternative splicing results in two p27kip1 mRNA isoforms that differ in their 3′ UTR, only one of which is subject to miR-221-222 regulation. In addition, transgenic expression of miR-221-222 from BAC clones in embryonic stem cells dramatically reduced cell-proliferation and severely impaired their accumulation. Our study provides further insights on miR-221-222 transcriptional regulation as well as evidences that miR-221-222 regulates cell-cycle checkpoints in mast cells in response to acute activation stimuli.
PMCID: PMC2610349  PMID: 19109175
cell cycle; mast cells; microRNAs; transcription; proliferation
24.  Phosphorylation of p27Kip1 by JAK2 directly links cytokine receptor signaling to cell cycle control 
Oncogene  2011;30(32):3502-3512.
Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) couples ligand activation of cell surface cytokine receptors to the regulation of cellular functions including cell cycle progression, differentiation and apoptosis. It thereby coordinates biological programs such as development and hematopoiesis. Unscheduled activation of JAK2 by point mutations or chromosomal translocations can induce hyperproliferation and hematological malignancies. Typical signal transduction by the JAK2 tyrosine kinase comprises phosphorylation of STAT transcription factors. In this study, we describe the identification of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27Kip1 as a novel JAK2 substrate. JAK2 can directly bind and phosphorylate p27Kip1. Both, the JAK2 FERM domain and its kinase domain bind to p27Kip1. JAK2 phosphorylates tyrosine residue 88 (Y88) of p27Kip1. We previously reported that Y88 phosphorylation of p27Kip1 by oncogenic tyrosine kinases impairs p27Kip1-mediated CDK inhibition, and initiates its ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation. Consistently, we now find that active oncogenic JAK2V617F reduces p27Kip1 stability and protein levels in patient-derived cell lines harboring the mutant JAK2V617F allele. Moreover, tyrosine phosphorylation of p27Kip1 is impaired and p27Kip1 expression is restored upon JAK2V617F inactivation by small hairpin RNA-mediated knockdown or by the pyridone-containing tetracycle JAK inhibitor-I, indicating that direct phosphorylation of p27Kip1 can contribute to hyperproliferation of JAK2V617F-transformed cells. Activation of endogenous JAK2 by interleukin-3 (IL-3) induces Y88 phosphorylation of p27Kip1, thus unveiling a novel link between cytokine signaling and cell cycle control in non-transformed cells. Oncogenic tyrosine kinases could use this novel pathway to promote hyperproliferation in tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3160490  PMID: 21423214
cell cycle control; CDK inhibitors; p27Kip1; tyrosine kinases; JAK2; JAK2V617F
25.  Epidermal growth factor upregulates Skp2/Cks1 and p27kip1 in human extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cells 
AIM: To evaluate the expression status of S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2)/cyclin-dependent kinases regulatory subunit 1 (Cks1) and p27kip1, and assess the prognostic significance of Skp2/Cks1 expression with p27kip1 in patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
METHODS: Seventy-six patients who underwent curative resection for histologically confirmed extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma at our institution from December 1994 to March 2008 were enrolled. Immunohistochemical staining for Skp2, Cks1, p27kip1, and Ki67, along with other relevant molecular biologic experiments, were performed.
RESULTS: By Cox regression analyses, advanced age (> 65 years), advanced AJCC tumor stage, poorly differentiated histology, and higher immunostaining intensity of Skp2 were identified as independent prognostic factors in patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Exogenous epidermal growth factor (EGF, especially 0.1-10 ng/mL) significantly increased the proliferation indices by MTT assay and the mRNA levels of Skp2/Cks1 and p27kip1 in SNU-1196, SNU-1079, and SNU-245 cells. The protein levels of Skp2/Cks1 (from nuclear lysates) and p27kip1 (from cytosolic lysate) were also significantly increased in these cells. There were significant reductions in the protein levels of Skp2/Cks1 and p27kip1 (from nuclear lysate) after the treatment of LY294002. By chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we found that E2F1 transcription factor directly binds to the promoter site of Skp2.
CONCLUSION: Higher immunostaining intensity of Skp2/Cks1 was an independent prognostic factor for patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. EGF upregulates the mRNA and protein levels of Skp2/Cks1 and p27kip1 via the PI3K/Akt pathway and direct binding of E2F1 transcription factor with the Skp2 promoter.
PMCID: PMC3921485  PMID: 24574749
S-phase kinase-associated protein 2; Cyclin-dependent kinases regulatory subunit 1; P27kip1; Cholangiocarcinoma; E2F1; PI3K/Akt

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