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J Cell Physiol. 2003 Feb;194(2):101-7.

Cyclin T: three forms for different roles in physiological and pathological functions.

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Laboratory "C," Department for the Development of Therapeutic Programs, Center for Experimental Research, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.


Cyclins are members of family of proteins involved in the cell cycle regulation. They are regulatory subunits of complexes with proteins called cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). There are three forms of cyclin T: cyclin T1, cyclin T2a, and T2b. All cyclin T contain an N-terminal "cyclin homology box," the most conserved region among different members of the cyclin family that serves to bind CDK9. In addition to the N-terminal cyclin domain, cyclin T contains a putative coiled-coil motif, a His-rich motif, and a C-terminal PEST sequence. The CDK9/cyclin T complex is able to activate gene expression in a catalytic-dependent manner, phosphorylating the carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II. In addition, only cyclin T1 supports interactions between Tat and TAR. The interaction of Tat with cyclin T1 alters the conformation of Tat to enhance the affinity and specificity of the Tat:TAR interaction. On the other hand, CDK9/cyclin T2 complexes are involved in the regulation of terminal differentiation in muscle cells.

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