Characterization of Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation in resting and activated CD4(+) T lymphocytes.

Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Journal of leukocyte biology (Impact Factor: 4.99). 09/2009; 86(6):1345-50. DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0509309
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The cellular kinase complex P-TEFb is composed of Cdk9 and cyclin T, and it is required for expression of most protein-coding genes by RNAP II. Cdk9 has been shown recently to be activated in cis by autophosphorylation of Thr186 in its T-loop. Using a phosphospecific Cdk9 antibody, we examined the level of Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation in resting and activated CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation was found to be low-to-undetectable in resting CD4(+) T lymphocytes, and upon activation by distinct stimuli, there is a rapid (<1 h) increase in pCdk9 that does not require protein synthesis. The low level of Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation was not to be a result of the absence of an associated regulatory cyclin partner. These observations suggest that autophosphorylation of the Cdk9 T-loop is repressed in resting CD4(+) T lymphocytes. The low level of T-loop phosphorylation in resting cells is also reflected in a low level of phosphorylation of Ser2 in the carboxyl terminal domain of RNAP II, suggesting that lack of Cdk9 T-loop autophosphorylation may limit RNAP II elongation in quiescent CD4(+) T lymphocytes.


Available from: Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Jun 11, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Flavopiridol is a small molecule inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) known to impair global transcription via inactivation of positive transcription elongation factor b. It has been demonstrated to have significant activity predominantly in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia in phase I/II clinical trials while other similar CDK inhibitors are vigorously being pursued in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Although flavopiridol is a potent therapeutic agent against blood diseases, some patients still have primary or acquired resistance throughout their clinical course. Considering the limited knowledge of resistance mechanisms of flavopiridol, we investigated the potential mechanisms of resistance to flavopiridol in a cell line system, which gradually acquired resistance to flavopiridol in vitro, and then confirmed the mechanism in patient samples. Herein, we present that this resistant cell line developed resistance through up-regulation of phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain, activation of CDK9 kinase activity, and prolonged Mcl-1 stability to counter flavopiridol's drug actions. Further analyses suggest MAPK/ERK activation-mediated Mcl-1 stabilization contributes to the resistance and knockdown of Mcl-1 in part restores sensitivity to flavopiridol-induced cytotoxicity. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that CDK9 is the most relevant target of flavopiridol and provide avenues to improve the therapeutic strategies in blood malignancies.
    Oncotarget 06/2014; · 6.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deregulation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) has been associated with many cancer types and has evoked an interest in chemical inhibitors with possible therapeutic benefit. While most known inhibitors display broad selectivity towards multiple CDKs, recent work highlights CDK9 as the critical target responsible for the anticancer activity of clinically evaluated drugs. In this review, we discuss recent findings provided by structural biologists that may allow further development of highly specific inhibitors of CDK9 towards applications in cancer therapy. We also highlight the role of CDK9 in inflammatory processes and diseases.
    Current pharmaceutical design 05/2012; 18(20):2883-90. DOI:10.2174/138161212800672750 · 3.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nasal NK/T cell lymphomas (NKTCL) are a subset of aggressive Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. The role of EBV in pathogenesis of NKTCL is not clear. Intriguingly, EBV encodes more than 40 microRNAs (miRNA) that are differentially expressed and largely conserved in lymphocryptoviruses. While miRNAs play a critical role in the pathogenesis of cancer, especially lymphomas, the expression and function of EBV transcribed miRNAs in NKTCL are not known. To examine the role of EBV miRNAs in NKTCL, we used microarray profiling and qRT-PCR to identify and validate expression of viral miRNAs in SNK6 and SNT16 cells, which are two independently derived NKTCL cell lines that maintain the type II EBV latency program. All EBV BART miRNAs except BHRF-derived miRNAs were expressed and some of these miRNAs are expressed at higher levels than in nasopharyngeal carcinomas. Modulating the expression of BART9 with antisense RNAs consistently reduced SNK6 and SNT16 proliferation, while antisense RNAs to BARTs-7 and -17-5p affected proliferation only in SNK6 cells. Furthermore, the EBV LMP-1 oncoprotein and transcript levels were repressed when an inhibitor of BART9 miRNA was transfected into SNK6 cells, and overexpression of BART9 miRNA increased LMP-1 protein and mRNA expression. Our data indicate that BART9 is involved in NKTCL proliferation, and one of its mechanisms of action appears to be regulating LMP-1 levels. Our findings may have direct application for improving NKTCL diagnosis and for developing possible novel treatment approaches for this tumor, for which current chemotherapeutic drugs have limited effectiveness.
    PLoS ONE 11/2011; 6(11):e27271. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0027271 · 3.53 Impact Factor