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Oncogene. 2017 Jan 19;36(3):350-361. doi: 10.1038/onc.2016.200. Epub 2016 Jun 6.

p27Kip1 represses the Pitx2-mediated expression of p21Cip1 and regulates DNA replication during cell cycle progression.

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Department of Cell Biology, Immunology and Neurosciences, University of Barcelona - IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.
INSERM UMR1037, Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
CNRS ERL5294, Toulouse, France.


The tumor suppressor p21 regulates cell cycle progression and peaks at mid/late G1. However, the mechanisms regulating its expression during cell cycle are poorly understood. We found that embryonic fibroblasts from p27 null mice at early passages progress slowly through the cell cycle. These cells present an elevated basal expression of p21 suggesting that p27 participates to its repression. Mechanistically, we found that p27 represses the expression of Pitx2 (an activator of p21 expression) by associating with the ASE-regulatory region of this gene together with an E2F4 repressive complex. Furthermore, we found that Pitx2 binds to the p21 promoter and induces its transcription. Finally, silencing Pitx2 or p21 in proliferating cells accelerates DNA replication and cell cycle progression. Collectively, these results demonstrate an unprecedented connection between p27, Pitx2 and p21 relevant for the regulation of cell cycle progression and cancer and for understanding human pathologies associated with p27 germline mutations.

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