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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 13;102(37):13005-12. Epub 2005 Sep 1.

RBR3, a member of the retinoblastoma-related family from maize, is regulated by the RBR1/E2F pathway.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Retinoblastoma-related (RBR) proteins regulate cell division in higher eukaryotes by controlling the adenovirus E2 promoter binding factor (E2F)/dimerization partner (DP) family of transcription factors that regulate expression of many genes involved in cell-cycle progression. We identified a previously undescribed member of the maize RBR family, RBR3, which has the characteristic structure and binding activities of pocket proteins, where interaction depends on a LxCxE motif in the partner proteins and a critical cysteine within the B pocket domain. Like other RBR proteins, RBR3 appears to be regulated by phosphorylation mediated by cyclin-dependent kinases. During endosperm development, RBR3 expression is restricted to the mitotic stage preceding the onset of endoreduplication. This finding suggests a role distinct from RBR1, which is constitutively expressed. Two sites in the RBR3 promoter bind to complexes containing maize E2F1 and DP proteins. Expression of wheat dwarf virus RepA protein, which blocks RBR1 activity and stimulates cell proliferation, dramatically up-regulates RBR3, but not RBR1, RNA in embryogenic maize calli. The results indicate that RBR3 expression is controlled by RBR1 through the activity of E2F/DP and that RBR3 is the maize equivalent of mammalian p107. Furthermore, maize and related grasses might have evolved a compensatory mechanism among distinct types of RBR proteins to ensure robust control of pocket protein activity.

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