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Cell Signal. 2000 Oct;12(9-10):619-27.

Changes in p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) expression are not required for cell cycle entry and progression to S phase in Swiss 3T3 cells.

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Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, New Medical School, University of Liverpool, Ashton Street, L69 3GE, Liverpool, UK.


The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1), play an important role in the regulation of progression through G(1) to S phase in mammalian cells. Here we report that confluent 3T3 cells expressed p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) predominantly in the nucleus, and the level of both proteins declined as the cells entered the cell cycle and progressed through G(1) in response to serum growth factors. However, when confluent cells were serum starved prior to treatment, no downregulation of p21(Cip1) or p27(Kip1) expression was observed. Notably, serum starvation did not significantly influence the capacity of the cells to progress to the S phase. It was observed that serum starvation reduced cell density. Further, when cells were plated at a range of different densities, starved of serum to render them quiescent and then subsequently treated with serum, a reduction in p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) expression was observed in cells plated at high density but not in those at low density. Again, the extent and timing of progression to S phase was not influenced by cell density. To establish the potential role of cell:cell contact in the observed density-dependent regulation of p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) expression, cells were plated onto micorarrays of adhesive islands that prevented individual cells from making any contact with other cells. Under these conditions serum growth factors induced p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) downregulation, and hence, there is no requirement for cell:cell contact. Together, these data indicate that there are conditions under which 3T3 cells can progress to the S phase without downregulation of p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1). The significance of these observations and mechanisms by which density-dependent regulation of p21(Cip1) and p27(Kip1) expression may occur are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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