Progression through the mammalian cell cycle is associated with the activity of four cyclin dependent kinases (Cdc2/Cdk1, Cdk2, Cdk4, and Cdk6). Knockout mouse models have provided insight into the interplay of these Cdks. Most of these models do not exhibit major cell cycle defects revealing redundancies, and suggesting that a single Cdk might be sufficient to drive the cell cycle, similar as in yeast. Recent work on Cdk2/Cdk4 double knockouts has indicated that these two Cdks are required to phosphorylate Rb during late embryogenesis. The lack of Rb phosphorylation is progressive and associated with reduced E2F-inducible gene expression. Cdk2 and Cdk4 share the essential function of coupling the G1/S transition with mitosis. However, proliferation in early embryogenesis appears to be independent of Cdk2 and Cdk4. We discuss these observations and propose molecular mechanisms that establish the requirement for Cdk2 and Cdk4 at the G1/S transition. We are considering that the balance between proliferation and differentiation is disturbed, which affects especially heart development and leads to embryonic lethality in Cdk2-/-Cdk4-/- mutants. We also discuss the specific functions of Cdk4 and Cdk6, which ironically do not compensate for each other.
|Status||Published - 2006 juni 6|