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Exp Cell Res. 2008 Jan 1;314(1):204-12. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

Differential regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) by phosphorylation directed by the cyclin encoded by Murine Herpesvirus 68.

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  • 1Division of Cell and Molecular biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ, UK.


Members of the gamma2-herpesvirus family encode cyclin-like proteins that have the ability to deregulate mammalian cell cycle control. Here we report the key features of the viral cyclin encoded by Murine Herpesvirus 68, M cyclin. M cyclin preferentially associated with and activated cdk2; the M cyclin/cdk2 holoenzyme displayed a strong reliance on phosphorylation of the cdk T loop for activity. cdk2 associated with M cyclin exhibited substantial resistance to the cdk inhibitor proteins p21(Cip) and p27(Kip). Furthermore, M cyclin directed cdk2 to phosphorylate p27(Kip1) on threonine 187 (T187) and cellular expression of M cyclin led to down-regulation of p27(Kip1) and the partial subversion of the associated G1 arrest. Mutation of T187 to a non-phosphorylatable alanine rendered the p27(Kip1)-imposed G1 arrest resistant to M cyclin expression. Unlike the related K cyclin, M cyclin was unable to circumvent the G1 arrest associated with p21(Cip1) and was unable to direct its associated catalytic subunit to phosphorylate this cdk inhibitor. These results imply that M cyclin has properties that are distinct from other viral cyclins and that M cyclin expression alone is insufficient for S phase entry.

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