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Circ Res. 2007 Jul 20;101(2):146-55. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

Yin Yang-1 inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell growth and intimal thickening by repressing p21WAF1/Cip1 transcription and p21WAF1/Cip1-Cdk4-cyclin D1 assembly.

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  • 1Centre for Vascular Research, Department of Pathology, University of New South Wales, and Department of Haematology, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Vascular injury initiates a cascade of phenotype-altering molecular events. Transcription factor function in this process, particularly that of negative regulators, is poorly understood. We demonstrate here that the forced expression of the injury-inducible GLI-Kr├╝ppel zinc finger protein Yin Yang-1 (YY1) inhibits neointima formation in human, rabbit and rat blood vessels. YY1 inhibits p21(WAF1/Cip1) transcription, prevents assembly of a p21(WAF1/Cip1)-cdk4-cyclin D1 complex, and blocks downstream pRb(Ser249/Thr252) phosphorylation and expression of PCNA and TK-1. Conversely, suppression of endogenous YY1 elevates levels of p21(WAF1/Cip1), PCNA, pRb(Ser249/Thr252) and TK-1, and increases intimal thickening. YY1 binds Sp1 and prevents its occupancy of a distinct element in the p21(WAF1/Cip1) promoter without YY1 itself binding the promoter. Additionally, YY1 induces ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation of p53, decreasing p53 immunoreactivity in the artery wall. These findings define a new role for YY1 as both an inducer of p53 instability in smooth muscle cells, and an indirect repressor of p21(WAF1/Cip1) transcription, p21(WAF1/Cip1)-cdk4-cyclin D1 assembly and intimal thickening.

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