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, 5 (1), 1-77

Phosphorylation of Transcription Factors and Control of the Cell Cycle

  • PMID: 7549180

Phosphorylation of Transcription Factors and Control of the Cell Cycle

T Boulikas. Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr.


Protein phosphorylation has evolved as the most versatile posttranslational modification widely used by cells. Signal transduction pathways mediated by activation of MAP kinases and protein kinase C trigger the exit of cells from the quiscence (Go-->G1 transition). Indeed, binding of growth factors at the cell surface triggers their receptors, usually possessing a tyrosine kinase on the cytoplasmic side, to phosphorylate other molecules passing on the information sequentially to GRB2 protein, to p21ras, to c-Raf-1, to MAP kinase kinase, to MAP kinase, to p90rsk, to transcription factors. Activated PKC, MAP kinase, and pp90src can translocate to the nucleus where they phosphorylate a number of protein transcription regulators in a cell cycle-dependent manner or in response to cell stimulation for exit from quiescence. The cell cycle is mainly regulated by p34cdc2 or otherwise called cdc2 in association with cyclins B at G2/M and by Cdk2 in association with cyclins A, D1, and E at G1/S checkpoints; phosphorylation of histone H1 and lamins by cdc2 triggers chromosome assembly and nuclear envelope breakdown, respectively, as a prelude to mitosis. Cdc2 activities functioning as a G2/M regulator are controlled by its phosphorylation and dephosphorylation at Ser/Thr residues. MAP kinases might be the missing link in the chain connecting the Go to G1 transition with the cell cycle regulation, whereas phosphorylation of replication protein factors, retinoblastoma, and p53 might link the G1 to S transition with the control of DNA synthesis. A number of transcription factors are known to stimulate DNA replication, including p53, c-Myc, AP-1, Oct-1, T-antigen; the DNA binding activities of all these proteins and their interaction with other transcription factors are controlled by phosphorylation. The nuclear import of several proteins including NF kappa B, Dorsal, glucocorticoid receptor, ISGF3, rNFIL-6, T antigen, and the kinases PKC, MAP, and p90rsk, are dependent on their phosphorylation at specific sites. Histone phosphorylation stimulated at discrete stages of the cell cycle or in response to cAMP or other stimuli might induce profound changes in chromatin organization.

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