The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 induces N-terminal proteolytic cleavage of cyclin A

Holger Bastians, Fiona M. Townsley, Joan V. Ruderman

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27 Scopus citations


Progression through the cell cycle is regulated in part by the sequential activation and inactivation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Many signals arrest the cell cycle through inhibition of CDKs by CDK inhibitors (CKIs). p27Kip1 (p27) was first identified as a CKI that binds and inhibits cyclin A/CDK2 and cyclin E/CDK2 complexes in G1. Here we report that p27 has an additional property, the ability to induce a proteolytic activity that cleaves cyclin A, yielding a truncated cyclin A lacking the mitotic destruction box. Other CKIs (p15Ink4b, p16Ink4a, p21Cip1, and p57Kip2) do not induce cleavage of cyclin A; other cyclins (cyclin B, D1, and E) are not cleaved by the p27-induced protease activity. The C-terminal half of p27, which is dispensable for its kinase inhibitory activity, is required to induce cleavage. Mechanistically, p27 does not appear to cause cleavage through direct interaction with cyclin/CDK complexes. Instead, it activates a latent protease that, once activated, does not require the continuing presence of p27. Mutation of cyclin A at R70 or R71, residues at or very close to the cleavage site, blocks cleavage. Non-cleavable mutants are still recognized by the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome pathway responsible for ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of mitotic cyclins, indicating that the p27-induced cleavage of cyclin A is part of a separate pathway. We refer to this protease as Tsap (pTwenty-seven-activated protease).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15374-15381
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 22 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Cell cycle
  • Proteolysis


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