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Cereb Cortex. 2011 Aug;21(8):1840-56. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq254. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57Kip2 regulates cell cycle exit, differentiation, and migration of embryonic cerebral cortical precursors.

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Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Mounting evidence indicates cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors (CKIs) of the Cip/Kip family, including p57(Kip2) and p27(Kip1), control not only cell cycle exit but also corticogenesis. Nevertheless, distinct activities of p57(Kip2) remain poorly defined. Using in vivo and culture approaches, we show p57(Kip2) overexpression at E14.5-15.5 elicits precursor cell cycle exit, promotes transition from proliferation to neuronal differentiation, and enhances process outgrowth, while opposite effects occur in p57(Kip2)-deficient precursors. Studies at later ages indicate p57(Kip2) overexpression also induces precocious glial differentiation, suggesting stage-dependent effects. In embryonic cortex, p57(Kip2) overexpression advances cell radial migration and alters postnatal laminar positioning. While both CKIs induce differentiation, p57(Kip2) was twice as effective as p27(Kip1) in inducing neuronal differentiation and was not permissive to astrogliogenic effects of ciliary neurotrophic factor, suggesting that the CKIs differentially modulate cell fate decisions. At molecular levels, although highly conserved N-terminal regions of both CKIs elicit cycle withdrawal and differentiation, the C-terminal region of p57(Kip2) alone inhibits in vivo migration. Furthermore, p57(Kip2) effects on neurogenesis and gliogenesis require the N-terminal cyclin/CDK binding/inhibitory domains, while previous p27(Kip1) studies report cell cycle-independent functions. These observations suggest p57(Kip2) coordinates multiple stages of corticogenesis and exhibits distinct and common activities compared with related family member p27(Kip1).

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