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Mol Carcinog. 1999 Jan;24(1):1-6.

ras activity and cyclin D1 expression: an essential mechanism of mouse skin tumor development.

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The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville 78957, USA.


ras is a family of small GTP-binding proteins that transduce signals from tyrosine-kinase receptors to the nucleus and thus play a role in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation. Several lines of evidence have shown that the cell-cycle machinery, specifically the circuit cyclin D1/cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) 4 and 6-p16-pRb, lies downstream of ras. Point mutations that activate the ras protein and its downstream cascade have been observed in human and experimental tumors. In particular, ras mutations have been well characterized in the mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis model, and a large body of literature has indicated that initiation with the genotoxic carcinogen 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene induces a specific point mutation in Ha-ras gene in this model. In the last few years, several studies have shown a correlation between ras activation and alterations in the expression of cyclin D1 as well as other cell cycle-regulated proteins, but the actual role of these alterations in tumor development had not been determined until a recent study provided genetic and biochemical evidence that cyclin D1 is a critical target of oncogenic ras in mouse skin carcinogenesis. Here we review these results, including the evidence that cyclin D1 has a role as a downstream mediator of ras activity during tumor development. We propose a model in which cyclin D1 has a unique growth-promoting role in tumor development but does not act as an oncogene independently of ras activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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