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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 1;286(26):23132-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.209114. Epub 2011 May 11.

Rho-associated kinase connects a cell cycle-controlling anchorage signal to the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Graduate School and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


When deprived of anchorage to the extracellular matrix, fibroblasts arrest in G(1) phase at least in part due to inactivation of G(1) cyclin-dependent kinases. Despite great effort, how anchorage signals control the G(1)-S transition of fibroblasts remains highly elusive. We recently found that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) cascade might convey an anchorage signal that regulates S phase entry. Here, we show that Rho-associated kinase connects this signal to the TSC1/TSC2-RHEB-mTOR pathway. Expression of a constitutively active form of ROCK1 suppressed all of the anchorage deprivation effects suppressible by tsc2 mutation in rat embryonic fibroblasts. TSC2 contains one evolutionarily conserved ROCK target-like sequence, and an alanine substitution for Thr(1203) in this sequence severely impaired the ability of ROCK1 to counteract the anchorage loss-imposed down-regulation of both G(1) cell cycle factors and mTORC1 activity. Moreover, TSC2 Thr(1203) underwent ROCK-dependent phosphorylation in vivo and could be phosphorylated by bacterially expressed active ROCK1 in vitro, providing biochemical evidence for a direct physical interaction between ROCK and TSC2.

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