Role of cell cycle regulatory molecules in retinoic acid- and vitamin D3-induced differentiation of acute myeloid leukaemia cells

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Abstract

The important role of cell cycle regulatory molecules in all trans-retinoic acid (ATRA)- and vitamin D3-induced growth inhibition and differentiation induction has been intensively studied in both acute myeloid leukaemia primary cells and a variety of leukaemia cell lines. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK)-activating kinase has been demonstrated to interact with retinoic acid receptor (RAR)α in acute promyelocytic leukaemia cells, and inhibition of CDK-activating kinase by ATRA causes hypophosphorylation of PML-RARα, leading to myeloid differentiation. In many cases, downregulation of CDK activity by ATRA and vitamin D3 is a result of elevated p21- and p27-bound CDKs. Activation of p21 is regulated at the transcriptional level, whereas elevated p27 results from both (indirectly) transcriptional activation and post-translational modifications. CDK inhibitors (CKIs) of the INK family, such as p15, p16 and p18, are mainly involved in inhibition of cell proliferation, whereas CIP/KIP members, such as p21, regulate both growth arrest and induction of differentiation. ATRA and vitamin D3 can also downregulate expression of G1 CDKs, especially CDK2 and CDK6. Inhibition of cyclin E expression has only been observed in ATRA- but not in vitamin D3-treated leukaemic cells. In vitro, not only dephosphorylation of pRb but also elevation of total pRb is required for ATRA and vitamin D3 to suppress growth and trigger their differentiation. Finally, sharp reduction in c-Myc has been observed in several leukaemia cell lines treated with ATRA, which may regulate expression of CDKs and CKIs.

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