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Oncogene. 1994 Sep;9(9):2549-57.

A cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, butyrolactone I, inhibits phosphorylation of RB protein and cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Banyu Tsukuba Research Institute, Merck Research Laboratories, Japan.


Butyrolactone I is a selective inhibitor of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) family. It inhibits both cdk2 and cdc2 kinase, but scarcely affects C-kinase, A-kinase, casein kinases, MAP kinase or EGF receptor-tyrosine kinase (Kitagawa et al., 1993, Oncogene, 8, 2425-2432). We studied the effects of butyrolactone I on the cell cycle as well as on phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (pRB). Butyrolactone I inhibited phosphorylation of pRB catalyzed by cyclin A-cdk2 produced by baculovirus in vitro. Furthermore, it inhibited phosphorylation of pRB and cell cycle progression from G1 to S phase in WI38 cell cultures. WI38 cells arrested at the G0 phase by serum starvation progressed in the cell cycle after serum stimulation. pRB was phosphorylated after 10 h serum stimulation. Incorporation of [3H]thymidine into the cells began to increase after 16 h serum stimulation. These processes were inhibited by butyrolactone I. Flow cytometric analysis showed that exposure to butyrolactone I inhibited progression of the cell cycle from G1 to S phase. These data suggested that initiation of DNA synthesis was inhibited by butyrolactone I and that the cell cycle was arrested in the G1 phase. Butyrolactone I also inhibited H1 histone phosphorylation in human WI38 cells and their G2/M progression. tsFT210 cells, a temperature-sensitive cdc2 mutant cell line, were synchronized at G2/M at a nonpermissive temperature, butyrolactone I inhibited the cell cycle progression of these cells at G2/M at the permissive temperature. Thus butyrolactone I, a cyclin-dependent kinase family inhibitor, which prevented the phosphorylations of the cell cycle-regulating proteins pRB and H1 histone, inhibited the cell cycle at G1/S and G2/M, respectively. These results suggest that the phosphorylations of pRB and H1 histone may play crucial roles in G1/S and G2/M progression, respectively, although it is possible that phosphorylations of other proteins by cdks are involved in G1/S and G2/M progression.

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