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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Jan;15(1):552-60.

Molecular cloning of a novel mitogen-inducible nuclear protein with a Ran GTPase-activating domain that affects cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


We have cloned a novel cDNA (Spa-1) which is little expressed in the quiescent state but induced in the interleukin 2-stimulated cycling state of an interleukin 2-responsive murine lymphoid cell line by differential hybridization. Spa-1 mRNA (3.5 kb) was induced in normal lymphocytes following various types of mitogenic stimulation. In normal organs it is preferentially expressed in both fetal and adult lymphohematopoietic tissues. A Spa-1-encoded protein of 68 kDa is localized mostly in the nucleus. Its N-terminal domain is highly homologous to a human Rap1 GTPase-activating protein (GAP), and a fusion protein of this domain (SpanN) indeed exhibited GAP activity for Rap1/Rsr1 but not for Ras or Rho in vitro. Unlike the human Rap1 GAP, however, SpanN also exhibited GAP activity for Ran, so far the only known Ras-related GTPase in the nucleus. In the presence of serum, stable Spa-1 cDNA transfectants of NIH 3T3 cells (NIH/Spa-1) hardly overexpressed Spa-1 (p68), and they grew as normally as did the parental cells. When NIH/Spa-1 cells were serum starved to be arrested in the G1/G0 phase of the cell cycle, however, they, unlike the control cells, exhibited progressive Spa-1 p68 accumulation, and following the addition of serum they showed cell death resembling mitotic catastrophes of the S phase during cell cycle progression. The results indicate that the novel nuclear protein Spa-1, with a potentially active Ran GAP domain, severely hampers the mitogen-induced cell cycle progression when abnormally and/or prematurely expressed. Functions of the Spa-1 protein and its regulation are discussed in the context of its possible interaction with the Ran/RCC-1 system, which is involved in the coordinated nuclear functions, including cell division.

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