Author(s): Zindy F, van Deursen J, Grosveld G, Sherr CJ, Roussel MF
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Abstract The INK4 family of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors includes four 15- to 19-kDa polypeptides (p16(INK4a), p15(INK4b), p18(INK4c), and p19(INK4d)) that bind to CDK4 and CDK6. By disrupting cyclin D-dependent holoenzymes, INK4 proteins prevent phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein and block entry into the DNA-synthetic phase of the cell division cycle. The founding family member, p16(INK4a), is a potent tumor suppressor in humans, whereas involvement, if any, of other INK4 proteins in tumor surveillance is less well documented. INK4c and INK4d are expressed during mouse embryogenesis in stereotypic tissue-specific patterns and are also detected, together with INK4b, in tissues of young mice. INK4a is expressed neither before birth nor at readily appreciable levels in young animals, but its increased expression later in life suggests that it plays some checkpoint function in response to cell stress, genotoxic damage, or aging per se. We used targeted gene disruption to generate mice lacking INK4d. These animals developed into adulthood, had a normal life span, and did not spontaneously develop tumors. Tumors did not arise at increased frequency in animals neonatally exposed to ionizing radiation or the carcinogen dimethylbenzanthrene. Mouse embryo fibroblasts, bone marrow-derived macrophages, and lymphoid T and B cells isolated from these animals proliferated normally and displayed typical lineage-specific differentiation markers. Males exhibited marked testicular atrophy associated with increased apoptosis of germ cells, although they remained fertile. The absence of tumors in INK4d-deficient animals demonstrates that, unlike INK4a, INK4d is not a tumor suppressor but is instead involved in spermatogenesis.
This article was published in Mol Cell Biol
and referenced in Cell & Developmental Biology