Expression of CDK7/CAK in normal and tumor cells of diverse histogenesis, cell-cycle position and differentiation

Int J Cancer. 1996 Jun 11;66(6):732-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(19960611)66:6<732::AID-IJC4>3.0.CO;2-0.


The cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7) represents the 40-kDa catalytic subunit of the CDK-activating kinase, the enzyme responsible for activatory phosphorylation of multiple CDKs controlling G1, S and G2/M phases of the cell cycle. Here, we surveyed a wide range of normal and tumour cell types, in both cell culture and biopsy specimens, for abundance and subcellular localisation of the CDK7 protein. Immunoblotting and immunocytochemical analyses showed that CDK7 was (i) ubiquitously expressed in all cell types examined; (ii) exclusively nuclear; (iii) moderately elevated in tumour cells when compared with their normal cell counterparts; (iv) invariant throughout the cell cycle of normal lymphocytes, fibroblasts, breast epithelium and several cancer cell lines; and (v) clearly detectable even in quiescent cells, including highly differentiated cell types in situ. Our data are consistent with the emerging role for CDK7/CAK in multiple biological processes, possibly providing a link between cell-cycle control, transcriptional regulation and genomic integrity control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast / cytology
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / biosynthesis*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • cyclin-dependent kinase-activating kinase