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Lack of detectable expression of p27kip1 cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor has previously been correlated with high degree of malignancy in human breast, colorectal, gastric and small cell lung carcinomas. Here we demonstrate that an inverse correlation between p27kip1 expression and tumour malignancy also exists in most types of human B cell lymphomas examined. A clear exception was Burkitt's lymphoma (BL), a highly malignant tumour which often expresses high levels of p27kip1. Analysis of p27kip1 derived from Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines expressing high levels of p27kip1, BL40 and BL41, in a cyclin E/cdk2 kinase inhibition assay demonstrated that p27kip1 is not permanently inactivated since heat treatment can restore the inhibitory activity of p27kip1. However, p27kip1 expressed in these two cell lines is largely sequestered in inactive complexes and we have no evidence that c-myc or Epstein-Barr virus are responsible for the sequestration of p27kip1 in these two cell lines although c-myc and EBV are two oncogenic agents often associated with Burkitt's lymphomas. Interestingly, we observed that high level p27kip1 expression often correlated with cyclin D3 overexpression both in vivo and in BL cell lines. The majority of p27kip1 in BL40 cells was complexed with cyclin D3 indicating that overexpressed cyclin D3 may at least be part of the sequestering activity for the inhibitory function of p27kip1. Furthermore, cyclinD3/cdk4 complex could sequester p27kip1 in a cyclin E/cdk2 kinase assay in vitro. Finally, we show that cyclin D3 transfected into an inducible p27kip1 cell line could overcome the G1 arrest mediated by p27kip1. These results argue that in addition to down-regulation of p27kip1 expression, some tumour cells can sequester and tolerate the antiproliferative function of p27kip1. They also suggest a novel role for the overexpression of D-type cyclins as one pathway allowing tumour cells to overcome the antiproliferative function of p27kip1.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





6388 - 6397


B-Lymphocytes, Burkitt Lymphoma, CDC2-CDC28 Kinases, Carcinoma, Cell Cycle, Cell Cycle Proteins, Cyclin D3, Cyclin E, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27, Cyclin-Dependent Kinases, Cyclins, Ecdysterone, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Hot Temperature, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Neoplasm Proteins, Prognosis, Protein Kinases, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Retinoblastoma Protein, Transfection, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Tumor Suppressor Proteins