Background: The cell division cycle demands accuracy to avoid the accumulation of genetic damage. This process is controlled by molecular circuits called "checkpoints" that are common to all eukaryotic cells (1). Checkpoints monitor DNA integrity and cell growth prior to replication and division at the G1/S and G2/M transitions, respectively. The cdc2-cyclin B kinase is pivotal in regulating the G2/M transition (2,3). Cdc2 is phosphorylated at Thr14 and Tyr15 during G2-phase by the kinases Wee1 and Myt1, rendering it inactive. The tumor suppressor protein retinoblastoma (Rb) controls progression through the late G1 restriction point (R) and is a major regulator of the G1/S transition (4). During early and mid G1-phase, Rb binds to and represses the transcription factor E2F (5). The phosphorylation of Rb late in G1-phase by CDKs induces Rb to dissociate from E2F, permitting the transcription of S-phase-promoting genes. In vitro, Rb can be phosphorylated at multiple sites by cdc2, cdk2, and cdk4/6 (6-8). DNA damage triggers both the G2/M and the G1/S checkpoints. DNA damage activates the DNA-PK/ATM/ATR kinases, which phosphorylate Chk at Ser345 (9), Chk2 at Thr68 (10) and p53 (11). The Chk kinases inactivate cdc25 via phosphorylation at Ser216, blocking the activation of cdc2.
Background: The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein Rb regulates cell proliferation by controlling progression through the restriction point within the G1-phase of the cell cycle (1). Rb has three functionally distinct binding domains and interacts with critical regulatory proteins including the E2F family of transcription factors, c-Abl tyrosine kinase, and proteins with a conserved LXCXE motif (2-4). Cell cycle-dependent phosphorylation by a CDK inhibits Rb target binding and allows cell cycle progression (5). Rb inactivation and subsequent cell cycle progression likely requires an initial phosphorylation by cyclin D-CDK4/6 followed by cyclin E-CDK2 phosphorylation (6). Specificity of different CDK/cyclin complexes has been observed in vitro (6-8) and cyclin D1 is required for Ser780 phosphorylation in vivo (9).
Background: Protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) is an essential protein serine/threonine phosphatase that is conserved in all eukaryotes. PP2A is a key enzyme within various signal transduction pathways as it regulates fundamental cellular activities such as DNA replication, transcription, translation, metabolism, cell cycle progression, cell division, apoptosis and development (1-3). The core enzyme consists of catalytic C and regulatory A (or PR65) subunits, with each subunit represented by α and β isoforms (1). Additional regulatory subunits belong to four different families of unrelated proteins. Both the B (or PR55) and B' regulatory protein families contain α, β, γ and δ isoforms, with the B' family also including an ε protein. B'' family proteins include PR72, PR130, PR59 and PR48 isoforms, while striatin (PR110) and SG2NA (PR93) are both members of the B''' regulatory protein family. These B subunits competitively bind to a shared binding site on the core A subunit (1). This variable array of holoenzyme components, particularly regulatory B subunits, allows PP2A to act in a diverse set of functions. PP2A function is regulated by expression, localization, holoenzyme composition and post-translational modification. Phosphorylation of PP2A at Tyr307 by Src occurs in response to EGF or insulin and results in a substantial reduction of PP2A activity (4). Reversible methylation on the carboxyl group of Leu309 of PP2A has been observed (5,6). Methylation alters the conformation of PP2A, as well as its localization and association with B regulatory subunits (6-8).