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  • 1
    Keywords: IN-VIVO ; CANCER-CELLS ; MAMMALIAN-CELLS ; PLK1 ; BOX DOMAIN ; SPINDLE-ASSEMBLY CHECKPOINT ; POLO-LIKE-KINASE-1 ; CYCLIN B1 ; AURORA-B ; PRIMING PHOSPHORYLATION
    Abstract: Exposure to drugs that interfere with microtubule dynamics block cell cycle progression at mitosis by prolonged activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). Cells can evade mitotic arrest and proceed to interphase without chromosome segregation by a process termed mitotic slippage that involves Cyclin B1 degradation without checkpoint inactivation. Here, we explored the cellular response to small-molecule inhibitors of Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), an important regulator of cell division. We found that the clinical Plk1 inhibitors BI 2536 and BI 6727, both unexpectedly, induced a dose-dependent cellular drug response: While mitotic arrest was induced in cancer cell lines and primary non-transformed cells across the entire range of concentrations tested, only high concentrations seemed to promote mitotic slippage. Since this observation contrasts with the effects expected from studies reporting RNAi-mediated Plk1 depletion in cancer cells, we wondered whether both ATP-competitive inhibitors target unknown kinases that are involved in signaling from the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) and might contribute to the mitotic slippage. A chemical proteomics approach used to profile the selectivity of both inhibitors revealed that SAC kinases are not targeted directly. Still, the activities of Cdk1/Cyclin B1 and Aurora B, which plays important roles in the error correction of false microtubule-kinetochore attachments and in checkpoint signaling, were shown to be downregulated at high inhibitor concentrations. Our data suggest that the inhibition of Plk1 activity below a certain threshold influences Aurora B activity via reduced phosphorylation of Fox M1 and Survivin leading to diminished levels of Aurora B protein and alteration of its subcellular localization. Within the spectrum of SAC proteins that are degraded during mitotic slippage, the degradation of Cyclin B1 and the downregulation of Aurora B activity by Plk1 inhibition seem to be critical promoters of mitotic slippage. The results indicate that careful dose-finding studies in cancer trials are necessary to limit or even prevent mitotic slippage, which could be associated with improved cancer cell survival.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25169932
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  • 2
    Keywords: IN-VIVO ; CANCER-CELLS ; DNA-DAMAGE ; p21 ; HUMAN FIBROBLASTS ; KINASE-ACTIVITY ; SMALL-MOLECULE INHIBITOR ; SUPPRESSOR P53 ; CYCLIN B1 ; CHROMOSOMAL PASSENGER COMPLEX
    Abstract: As a multifaceted molecule, p21 plays multiple critical roles in cell cycle regulation, differentiation, apoptosis, DNA repair, senescence, aging and stem cell reprogramming. The important roles of p21 in the interphase of the cell cycle have been intensively investigated. The function of p21 in mitosis has been proposed but not systematically studied. We show here that p21 is abundant in mitosis and binds to and inhibits the activity of Cdk1/cyclin B1. Deficiency of p21 prolongs the duration of mitosis by extending metaphase, anaphase and cytokinesis. The activity of Aurora B is reduced and the localization of Aurora B on the central spindle is disturbed in anaphase cells without p21. Moreover, HCT116 p21-/-, HeLa and Saos-2 cells depleted of p21 encounter problems in chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. Gently inhibiting the mitotic Cdk1 or add-back of p21 rescues segregation defect in HCT116 p21-/- cells. Our data demonstrate that p21 is important for a fine-tuned control of the Cdk1 activity in mitosis, and its proper function facilitates a smooth mitotic progression. Given that p21 is downregulated in the majority of tumors, either by the loss of tumor suppressors like p53 or by hyperactive oncogenes such as c-myc, this finding also sheds new light on the molecular mechanisms by which p21 functions as a tumor suppressor.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24317508
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  • 3
    Abstract: Upon interaction of the CD95 receptor with its ligand, sequential association of the adaptor molecule FADD (MORT1), pro-forms of caspases-8/10, and the caspase-8/10 regulator c-FLIP leads to the formation of a death-inducing signaling complex. Here, we identify polo-like kinase (Plk) 3 as a new interaction partner of the death receptor CD95. The enzymatic activity of Plk3 increases following interaction of the CD95 receptor with its ligand. Knockout (KO) or knockdown of caspase-8, CD95 or FADD prevents activation of Plk3 upon CD95 stimulation, suggesting a requirement of a functional DISC for Plk3 activation. Furthermore, we identify caspase-8 as a new substrate for Plk3. Phosphorylation occurs on T273 and results in stimulation of caspase-8 proapoptotic function. Stimulation of CD95 in cells expressing a non-phosphorylatable caspase-8-T273A mutant in a rescue experiment or in Plk3-KO cells generated by CRISPR/Cas9 reduces the processing of caspase-8 prominently. Low T273 phosphorylation correlates significantly with low Plk3 expression in a cohort of 95 anal tumor patients. Our data suggest a novel mechanism of kinase activation within the Plk family and propose a new model for the stimulation of the extrinsic death pathway in tumors with high Plk3 expression.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27325299
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  • 4
    Abstract: Caspase activation is a hallmark of apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of caspase-8 activation within the extrinsic death pathway are not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that procaspase-8 is phosphorylated in mitotic cells by Cdk1/cyclin B1 on Ser-387, which is located at the N terminus of the catalytic subunit p10. This phosphorylation of procaspase-8 on Ser-387 occurs in cancer cell lines, as well as in primary breast tissues and lymphocytes. Furthermore, RNA interference-mediated silencing of cyclin B1 or treatment with the Cdk1 inhibitor RO-3306 enhances the Fas-mediated activation and processing of procaspase-8 in mitotic cells. A nonphosphorylatable procaspase-8 (S387A) facilitates Fas-induced apoptosis during mitosis. Our findings suggest that Cdk1/cyclin B1 activity shields human cells against extrinsic death stimuli and unravel the molecular details of the cross talk between cell cycle and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. Finally, this new mechanism may also contribute to tumorigenesis
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 20937773
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