Author(s): Meyyappan M
Cyclin D2 is a member of the family of D-type cyclins that is implicated in cell cycle regulation, differentiation, and oncogenic transformation. To better understand the role of this cyclin in the control of cell proliferation, cyclin D2 expression was monitored under various growth conditions in primary human and established murine fibroblasts. In different states of cellular growth arrest initiated by contact inhibition, serum starvation, or cellular senescence, marked increases (5- to 20-fold) were seen in the expression levels of cyclin D2 mRNA and protein. Indirect immunofluorescence studies showed that cyclin D2 protein localized to the nucleus in G0, suggesting a nuclear function for cyclin D2 in quiescent cells. Cyclin D2 was also found to be associated with the cyclin-dependent kinases CDK2 and CDK4 but not CDK6 during growth arrest. Cyclin D2-CDK2 complexes increased in amounts but were inactive as histone H1 kinases in quiescent cells. Transient transfection and needle microinjection of cyclin D2 expression constructs demonstrated that overexpression of cyclin D2 protein efficiently inhibited cell cycle progression and DNA synthesis. These data suggest that in addition to a role in promoting cell cycle progression through phosphorylation of retinoblastoma family proteins in some cell systems, cyclin D2 may contribute to the induction and/or maintenance of a nonproliferative state, possibly through sequestration of the CDK2 catalytic subunit.