Interleukin-2-mediated elimination of the p27Kip1 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor prevented by rapamycin

Nature. 1994 Dec 8;372(6506):570-3. doi: 10.1038/372570a0.


The cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) enzymes, when associated with the G1 cyclins D and E, are rate-limiting for entry into the S phase of the cell cycle. During T-cell mitogenesis, antigen-receptor signalling promotes synthesis of cyclin E and its catalytic partner, Cdk2, and interleukin-2 (IL-2) signalling activates cyclin E/Cdk2 complexes. Rapamycin is a potent immunosuppressant which specifically inhibits G1-to-S-phase progression, leading to cell-cycle arrest in yeast and mammals. Here we report that IL-2 allows Cdk activation by causing the elimination of the Cdk inhibitor protein p27Kip1, and that this is prevented by rapamycin. By contrast, the Cdk inhibitor p21 is induced by IL-2 and this induction is blocked by rapamycin. Our results show that p27Kip1 governs Cdk activity during the transition from quiescence to S phase in T lymphocytes and that p21 function may be restricted to cycling cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CDC2-CDC28 Kinases*
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism*
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Polyenes / pharmacology*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Sirolimus
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / enzymology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Cdkn1a protein, mouse
  • Cdkn1b protein, mouse
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Interleukin-2
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Polyenes
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • CDC2-CDC28 Kinases
  • Cdk2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Sirolimus