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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 12;280(32):29282-8. Epub 2005 Jun 17.

Cdk2-dependent Inhibition of p21 stability via a C-terminal cyclin-binding motif.

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Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, Center for Molecular Oncology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


p21 is a member of the Cip/Kip family of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors that includes p21, p27, and p57. Recent studies have suggested that Cdk2 activity may promote p21 degradation through a pathway similar to that for p27, although the mechanism by which this occurs has not been clarified. In the current report, co-expression with cyclin E and Cdk2 stabilized p21 in a manner that required the CDK-binding site of p21 and a cyclin-binding site (cy1) located in the p21 N terminus. Strikingly, however, a kinase-dead Cdk2 mutant stabilized p21 to a greater extent than did wild-type Cdk2, consistent with the notion that Cdk2 activity can destabilize p21. The ability of wild-type Cdk2 to destabilize p21 required a potential Cdk2 phosphorylation site in p21 at serine 130 and an intact cyclin-binding motif (cy2) in the p21 C terminus. Finally, p21 was phosphorylated by Cdk2 at Ser-130 in vitro, and this ability of Cdk2 to phosphorylate p21 was dependent, in large part, on the presence of cy2. These results support a model in which active Cdk2 destabilizes p21 via the cy2 cyclin-binding motif and p21 phosphorylation.

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