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Oncogene. 1998 Oct 29;17(17):2177-86.

pRB phosphorylation mutants reveal role of pRB in regulating S phase completion by a mechanism independent of E2F.

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Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratory, London, UK.


Progression of cells into S phase is controlled by the retinoblastoma protein (pRB) and relies on the functional inactivation of this tumour suppressor in late G1 via protein phosphorylation. We provide evidence here that, besides controlling entry of cells into S phase, pRB can operate to inhibit S phase completion. Differential arrays of phosphorylation appear to regulate these different events, suggesting that cycle progression at these two stages of the cell cycle may be achieved via activation of distinct downstream pRB effector pathways. In agreement with this hypothesis, pRB's ability to prevent S phase entry, but not its ability to inhibit S phase completion, correlates with repression of E2F-regulated promoters. Furthermore, ectopic expression of E2F or the E2F-regulated cyclin E gene promote S phase entry in cells expressing phosphorylation-defective pRB but neither is sufficient to trigger completion of S phase. Our findings raise the possibility that pRB, in addition to its well-established role in controlling a checkpoint in late G1, could be involved in the control of a further checkpoint operating during S phase and that implementation of this checkpoint relies on an as yet unidentified pRB effector distinct from E2F.

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