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Cancer Lett. 2005 Jan 20;217(2):129-38.

Cdk1 and Cdk2 complexes (cyclin dependent kinases) in apoptosis: a role beyond the cell cycle.

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Cancer Research Division, Institut de Recherches Servier, 125 ch. de Ronde, Croissy-sur-Seine, Paris F 78290, France.


The family of cyclin-dependent kinase complexes (Cdks) are well known for their role in the cell division cycle. What is less well known, however, is that Cdks also participate in a subset of apoptosis programs. Evidence for the role of Cdks in apoptosis comes from a variety of experimental approaches, including studies using genetic mutants, protein inhibitors, and chemical inhibitors of protein kinase activity. The precise role of Cdks in apoptosis remains to be defined, although one promising approach to clarify this question is to identify Cdk protein substrates during apoptosis. Currently a number of Cdk inhibitors are being tested in clinical trials. By understanding how Cdks function during apoptosis it may be possible to optimise the use of these inhibitors in treating human tumours by blocking proliferation but permitting apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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