ABSTRACT: The tumor suppressor retinoblastoma protein (Rb) plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cell proliferation and sensitivity to apoptosis through binding to E2F transcription factors. Loss of Rb in response to genotoxic stress or inflammatory cytokines can enhance cell death, in part, by eliminating Rb-mediated repression of proapoptotic gene transcription. Here we show that calpain cleavage of Rb facilitates Rb loss by proteasome degradation and that this may occur during tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced apoptosis. The cytoprotective, Rb-binding protein SerpinB2 (plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2) protects Rb from calpain cleavage, increasing Rb levels and enhancing cell survival. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays show that the increased Rb levels selectively enhance Rb repression of proapoptotic gene transcription. This cytoprotective role of SerpinB2 is illustrated by reduced susceptibility of SerpinB2-deficient mice to multistage skin carcinogenesis, where Rb-dependent cell proliferation competes with apoptosis during initiation of papilloma development. These data identify SerpinB2 as a cell survival factor that modulates Rb repression of proapoptotic signal transduction and define a new posttranslational mechanism for selective regulation of the intracellular levels of Rb.
Cancer Research 07/2008; 68(14):5648-57. · 7.86 Impact Factor