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Genes Dev. 1996 Jun 15;10(12):1491-502.

Mammalian p50Cdc37 is a protein kinase-targeting subunit of Hsp90 that binds and stabilizes Cdk4.

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  • 1Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


CDC37, an essential gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, interacts genetically with multiple protein kinases and is required for production of Cdc28p/cyclin complexes through an unknown mechanism. We have identified mammalian p50Cdc37 as a protein kinase-targeting subunit of the molecular chaperone Hsp90. Previously, p50 was observed in complexes with pp60v-src and Raf-1, but its identity and function have remained elusive. In mouse fibroblasts, a primary target of Cdc37 is Cdk4. This kinase is activated by D-type cyclins and functions in passage through G1. In insect cells, Cdc37 is sufficient to target Hsp90 to Cdk4 and both in vitro and in vivo, Cdc37/Hsp90 associates preferentially with the fraction of Cdk4 not bound to D-type cyclins. Cdc37 is coexpressed with cyclin Dl in cells undergoing programmed proliferation in vivo, consistent with a positive role in cell cycle progression. Pharmacological inactivation of Cdc37/Hsp90 function decreases the half-life of newly synthesized Cdk4, indicating a role for Cdc37/Hsp90 in Cdk4 stabilization. This study suggests a general role for p50Cdc37 in signaling pathways dependent on intrinsically unstable protein kinases and reveals a previously unrecognized chaperone-dependent step in the production of Cdk4/cyclin D complexes.

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