RNA polymerase I transcription in confluent cells: Rb downregulates rDNA transcription during confluence-induced cell cycle arrest

Oncogene. 2000 Jul 20;19(31):3487-97. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1203690.


When 3T6 cells are confluent, they withdraw from the cell cycle. Concomitant with cell cycle arrest a significant reduction in RNA polymerase I transcription (80% decrease at 100% confluence) is observed. In the present study, we examined mechanism(s) through which transcription of the ribosomal genes is coupled to cell cycle arrest induced by cell density. Interestingly with an increase in cell density (from 3 - 43% confluence), a significant accumulation in the cellular content of hyperphosphorylated Rb was observed. As cell density increased further, the hypophosphorylated form of Rb became predominant and accumulated in the nucleoli. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated there was also a significant rise in the amount of hypophosphorylated Rb associated with the rDNA transcription factor UBF. This increased interaction between Rb and UBF correlated with the reduced rate of rDNA transcription. Furthermore, overexpression of recombinant Rb inhibited UBF-dependent activation of transcription from a cotransfected rDNA reporter in either confluent or exponential cells. The amounts or activities of the rDNA transcription components we examined did not significantly change with cell cycle arrest. Although the content of PAF53, a polymerase associated factor, was altered marginally (decreased 38%), the time course and magnitude of the decrease did not correlate with the reduced rate of rDNA transcription. The results presented support a model wherein regulation of the binding of UBF to Rb and, perhaps the cellular content of PAF53, are components of the mechanism through which cell cycle and rDNA transcription are linked. Oncogene (2000) 19, 3487 - 3497

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism
  • Contact Inhibition / genetics*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phosphorylation
  • Pol1 Transcription Initiation Complex Proteins*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • RNA Polymerase I / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / biosynthesis*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / physiology
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transfection


  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • POLR1E protein, human
  • Paf53 protein, mouse
  • Pol1 Transcription Initiation Complex Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Transcription Factors
  • transcription factor UBF
  • RNA Polymerase I