The expression of the nuclear protein Ki-67 (pKi-67) is strictly correlated with cell proliferation. Because of this, anti-Ki-67 antibodies can be used as operational markers to estimate the growth fraction of human neoplasia in situ. For a variety of tumours, the assessment of pKi-67 expression has repeatedly been proven to be of prognostic value for survival and tumour recurrence, but no cellular function has yet been ascribed to the Ki-67 protein. This study shows that a C-terminal domain of pKi-67 (Kon21) is able to bind to all three members of the mammalian heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family in vitro and in vivo. This interaction can be manipulated in living cells, as evidenced by ectopic expression of GFP-tagged HP1 proteins in HeLa cells, which results in a dramatic relocalization of endogenous pKi-67. Taken together, the data presented in this study suggest a role for pKi-67 in the control of higher-order chromatin structure.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.