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J Biol Chem. 1997 May 23;272(21):13937-44.

Overexpression of the integrin-linked kinase promotes anchorage-independent cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto and Cancer Biology Research, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada.


Cell adhesion to substratum has been shown to regulate cyclin A expression as well as cyclin D- and E-dependent kinases, the latter via the up-regulation of cyclin D1 and the down-regulation of cyclin-Cdk inhibitors p21 and p27, respectively. This adhesion-dependent regulation of cell cycle is thought to be mediated by integrins. Here we demonstrate that stable transfection and overexpression of the integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which interacts with the beta1 and beta3 integrin cytoplasmic domains, induces anchorage-independent cell cycle progression but not serum-independent growth of rat intestinal epithelial cells (IEC18). ILK overexpression results in increased expression of cyclin D1, activation of Cdk4 and cyclin E-associated kinases, and hyperphosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein. In addition, ILK overexpression results in the expression of p21 and p27 Cdk inhibitors with altered electrophoretic mobilities, with the p27 from ILK-overexpressing cells having reduced inhibitory activity. The transfer of serum-exposed IEC18 cells from adherent cultures to suspension cultures results in a rapid down-regulation of expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin A proteins as well as in retinoblastoma protein dephosphorylation. In marked contrast, transfer of ILK-overexpressing cells from adherent to suspension cultures results in continued high levels of expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin A proteins, and a substantial proportion of the retinoblastoma protein remains in a hyperphosphorylated state. These results indicate that, when overexpressed, ILK induces signaling pathways resulting in the stimulation of G1/S cyclin-Cdk activities, which are normally regulated by cell adhesion and integrin engagement.

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