[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little is known about the mechanisms by which retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR alpha) mediates the effects of retinoic acid (RA) to coordinate granulocytic proliferation/differentiation (P/D) transition. Cyclin-dependent kinase-activating kinase (CAK) complex, whose activity in phosphorylation of RAR alpha is determined by its targeting subunit ménage à trois 1 (MAT1), regulates G(1) exit, a cell cycle stage when cells commonly commit to proliferation or to differentiation. We previously found that in myeloid leukemia cells, the lack of RA-induced RAR alpha-CAK dissociation and MAT1 degradation suppresses cell differentiation by inhibiting CAK-dependent G(1) exit and sustaining CAK hyperphosphorylation of RAR alpha. This contrasts with our recent findings about the P/D transition in normal primitive hematopoietic cells, where MAT1 degradation proceeds intrinsically together with granulocytic development, in accord with dynamic expression of aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) 1A1 and 1B1, which catalyze RA synthesis. Blocking ALDH activity inhibits MAT1 degradation and granulocytic differentiation, whereas loss of RAR alpha phosphorylation by CAK induces RA-target gene expression and granulocytic differentiation. These studies suggest that the subversion of RAR alpha-CAK signaling during normal granulopoiesis is crucial to myeloid leukemogenesis and challenges the current paradigm that RA induces cell differentiation solely by transactivating target genes. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells express promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor alpha (PML/RARalpha) fusion protein, which leads to the blocking of APL cell differentiation. Treatment of APL with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induces disease remission by in vivo differentiation of APL cells. Differentiation requires cell cycle exit; yet how ATRA couples cell cycle exit to differentiation of APL remains largely unknown. We previously found that ATRA-induced cell differentiation accompanies ubiquitination-proteolysis of ménage à trois 1 (MAT1), an assembly factor and targeting subunit of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)-activating kinase (CAK) that regulates G1 exit. We report here that CAK binds to and phosphorylates PML/RARalpha in actively proliferating APL cells. In response to ATRA, PML/RARalpha is dissociated from CAK, leading to MAT1 degradation, G1 arrest, and decreased CAK phosphorylation of PML/RARalpha. CAK phosphorylation of PML/RARalpha is inhibited when MAT1 levels are reduced. Both MAT1 degradation and PML/RARalpha hypophosphorylation occur in ATRA-induced G1-arresting cells undergoing differentiation but not in the synchronized G1 cells that do not differentiate. These findings reveal a novel ATRA signaling on APL cell differentiation, in which ATRA coordinates G1 arrest and transition into differentiation by inducing MAT1 degradation and PML/RARalpha hypophosphorylation through disrupting PML/RARalpha binding and phosphorylation by CAK.