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author:("Ye, weizhong")
1.  S phase entry causes homocysteine-induced death while ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related protein functions anti-apoptotically to protect neurons 
Brain  2010;133(8):2295-2312.
A major phenotype seen in neurodegenerative disorders is the selective loss of neurons due to apoptotic death and evidence suggests that inappropriate re-activation of cell cycle proteins in post-mitotic neurons may be responsible. To investigate whether reactivation of the G1 cell cycle proteins and S phase entry was linked with apoptosis, we examined homocysteine-induced neuronal cell death in a rat cortical neuron tissue culture system. Hyperhomocysteinaemia is a physiological risk factor for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. We found that in response to homocysteine treatment, cyclin D1, and cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 2 translocated to the nucleus, and p27 levels decreased. Both cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 2 regained catalytic activity, the G1 gatekeeper retinoblastoma protein was phosphorylated and DNA synthesis was detected, suggesting transit into S phase. Double-labelling immunofluorescence showed a 95% co-localization of anti-bromodeoxyuridine labelling with apoptotic markers, demonstrating that those cells that entered S phase eventually died. Neurons could be protected from homocysteine-induced death by methods that inhibited G1 phase progression, including down-regulation of cyclin D1 expression, inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 or 2 activity by small molecule inhibitors, or use of the c-Abl kinase inhibitor, Gleevec™, which blocked cyclin D and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 nuclear translocation. However, blocking cell cycle progression post G1, using DNA replication inhibitors, did not prevent apoptosis, suggesting that death was not preventable post the G1-S phase checkpoint. While homocysteine treatment caused DNA damage and activated the DNA damage response, its mechanism of action was distinct from that of more traditional DNA damaging agents, such as camptothecin, as it was p53-independent. Likewise, inhibition of the DNA damage sensors, ataxia-telangiectasia mutant and ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related proteins, did not rescue apoptosis and in fact exacerbated death, suggesting that the DNA damage response might normally function neuroprotectively to block S phase-dependent apoptosis induction. As cell cycle events appear to be maintained in vivo in affected neurons for weeks to years before apoptosis is observed, activation of the DNA damage response might be able to hold cell cycle-induced death in check.
PMCID: PMC3139932  PMID: 20639548
cell cycle; p27; homocysteine; apoptosis; DNA damage response; neurons
2.  Patterns of p57Kip2 Expression in Embryonic Rat Brain Suggest Roles in Progenitor Cell Cycle Exit and Neuronal Differentiation 
Developmental neurobiology  2009;69(1):1-21.
In developing central nervous system, a variety of mechanisms couple cell cycle exit to differentiation during neurogenesis. The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p57Kip2 controls the transition from proliferation to differentiation in many tissues, but roles in developing brain remain uncertain. To characterize possible functions, we defined p57Kip2 protein expression in embryonic day (E) 12.5 to 20.5 rat brains using immunohistochemistry combined with markers of proliferation and differentiation. p57Kip2 was localized primarily in cell nuclei and positive cells formed two distinct patterns including wide dispersion and laminar aggregation that were brain region-specific. From E12.5 to E16.5, p57Kip2 expression was detected mainly in ventricular (VZ) and/or mantle zones of hippocampus, septum, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain and spinal cord. After E18.5, p57Kip2 was detected in select regions undergoing differentiation. p57Kip2 expression was also compared to regional transcription factors, including Ngn2, Nkx2.1 and Pax6. Time course studies performed in diencephalon showed that p57Kip2 immunoreactivity co-localized with BrdU at 8 hr in nuclei exhibiting the wide dispersion pattern, whereas co-localization in the laminar pattern occurred only later. Moreover, p57Kip2 frequently co-localized with neuronal marker, β-III tubulin. Finally, we characterized relationships of p57Kip2 to CDK inhibitor p27Kip1: In proliferative regions, p57Kip2 expression preceded p27Kip1 as cells underwent differentiation, though the proteins co-localized in substantial numbers of cells, suggesting potentially related yet distinct functions of Cip/Kip family members during neurogenesis. Our observations that p57Kip2 exhibits nuclear expression as precursors exit the cell cycle and begin expressing neuronal characteristics suggests that the CDK inhibitor contributes to regulating the transition from proliferation to differentiation during brain development.
PMCID: PMC2967216  PMID: 18814313
Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p57Kip2; Embryonic Development/physiology; Nervous System/cytology/*embryology; Brain/embryology; Neuronal Differentiation

Results 1-2 (2)