Estrogen-induced activation of Cdk4 and Cdk2 during G1-S phase progression is accompanied by increased cyclin D1 expression and decreased cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor association with cyclin E-Cdk2.J Biol Chem. 1997 Apr 18; 272(16):10882-94.JB
Estrogens induce cell proliferation in target tissues by stimulating progression through G1 phase of the cell cycle, but the underlying molecular targets remain undefined. To determine the role of the cyclin/cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)/retinoblastoma protein (pRB) pathway in this response we treated MCF-7 breast cancer cells with the pure estrogen antagonist ICI 182780 to inhibit estrogen-induced gene expression and induce G1 phase arrest. Subsequent treatment with 17beta-estradiol resulted in the synchronous entry of cells into S phase commencing at 12 h. The proportion of cells in S phase reached a maximum of 60% at 21-24 h. Cells subsequently completed mitosis and entered a second semisynchronous round of replication. Entry into S phase was preceded by increased activity of both Cdk4 and cyclin E-Cdk2 and hyperphosphorylation of pRB, all within the first 3-6 h of estradiol treatment. The increase in Cdk4 activity was accompanied by increases in cyclin D1 mRNA and protein, indicating that an initiating event in the activation of Cdk4 was increased cyclin D1 gene expression. In contrast, the levels of Cdk2 and the CDK inhibitors p21 (WAF1/CIP1/SDI1) and p27 (KIP1) in total cell lysates and in cyclin E immunoprecipitates were unaltered at these early time points. However, an inhibitory activity was present in antiestrogen-pretreated cell lysates toward recombinant cyclin E-Cdk2 and was relieved by estradiol treatment. This activity was attributable predominantly to p21. These apparently conflicting data were resolved by performing gel filtration chromatography, which revealed that only a minority of cyclin E-Cdk2 complexes were active following estradiol treatment. Active complexes eluted at a higher molecular weight than inactive complexes, were relatively deficient in both p21 and p27, and contained Cdk2 with increased threonine 160 phosphorylation, consistent with a mechanism of activation of cyclin E-Cdk2 involving both reduced CDK inhibitor association and CDK-activating kinase-mediated phosphorylation of Cdk2. These results provide an explanation for the early activation of both cyclin D1-Cdk4 and cyclin E-Cdk2 complexes that accompany G1-S phase progression in response to estradiol.