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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Sep 7;275(3):877-84.

Inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4) by fascaplysin, a marine natural product.

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Oncology Research, Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, CH 4002, Switzerland.


Small chemical molecules that interfere with biological proteins could be useful for gaining insight into the complex biochemical processes in mammalian cells. Cdk4 is a key protein whose activity is required not only for emergence of cells from quiescence but also at the G1/S transition in the cell cycle and which is misregulated in 60-70% of human cancers. We set out to identify chemical inhibitors of Cdk4 and discovered that, in vitro, fascaplysin specifically inhibited Cdk4. Molecular modelling based on the crystal structure of Cdk2 suggests that fascaplysin inhibits Cdk4 by binding to the ATP pocket of the kinase. Treatment of tumour (p16(-), pRb(+)) and normal (p16(+), pRb(+)) cell lines with fascaplysin caused G1 arrest and prevented pRb phosphorylation at sites implicated as being specific for Cdk4 kinase. Fascaplysin will therefore prove to be a useful tool in studying the consequence of Cdk4 inhibition, especially in cells containing inactivated p16.

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