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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Sep;17(9):5348-58.

Ras activity late in G1 phase required for p27kip1 downregulation, passage through the restriction point, and entry into S phase in growth factor-stimulated NIH 3T3 fibroblasts.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


It is well documented that Ras functions as a molecular switch for reentry into the cell cycle at the border between G0 and G1 by transducing extracellular growth stimuli into early G1 mitogenic signals. In the present study, we investigated the role of Ras during the late stage of the G1 phase by using NIH 3T3 (M17) fibroblasts in which the expression of a dominant negative Ras mutant, p21(Ha-Ras[Asn17]), is induced in response to dexamethasone treatment. We found that delaying the expression of Ras(Asn17) until late in the G1 phase by introducing dexamethasone 3 h after the addition of epidermal growth factor (EGF) abolished the downregulation of the p27kip1 cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor which normally occurred during this period, with resultant suppression of cyclin Ds/CDK4 and cyclin E/CDK2 and G1 arrest. The immunodepletion of p27kip1 completely eliminated the CDK inhibitor activity from EGF-stimulated, dexamethasone-treated cell lysate. The failure of p27kip1 downregulation and G1 arrest was also observed in cells in which Ras(Asn17) was induced after growth stimulation with a phorbol ester or alpha-thrombin and was mimicked by the addition late in the G1 phase of inhibitors for phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase. Ras-mediated downregulation of p27kip1 involved both the suppression of synthesis and the stimulation of the degradation of the protein. Unlike the earlier expression of Ras(Asn17) at the border between G0 and G1, its delayed expression did not compromise the EGF-stimulated transient activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases or inhibit the stimulated expression of a principal D-type cyclin, cyclin D1, until close to the border between G1 and S. We conclude that Ras plays temporally distinct, phase-specific roles throughout the G1 phase and that Ras function late in G1 is required for p27kip1 downregulation and passage through the restriction point, a prerequisite for entry into the S phase.

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