The interferon (IFN)-induced, double stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated serine/threonine kinase, PKR, is a potent negative regulator of cell growth when overexpressed in yeast or mammalian cells. Paradoxically, while it can function as a tumor suppressor and inducer of apoptosis, it is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers. To resolve this enigma, we established cell-lines that overexpress PKR in non-transformed and in v-mos transformed CHO cells. Overexpression of PKR suppressed the proliferation of CHO cells by inducing a transient G0/G1 arrest, followed by a delayed G2/M arrest, which attenuated cell cycle progression. These effects were accompanied by early induction of p21/WAF-1 and delayed downregulation of CDC2 and cyclin B1. Induction of proapoptotic activity of the ectopic PKR paralleled the onset of G2/M arrest in CHO cells. However, while transiently inducing p21/WAF-1, PKR did not impose G2/M arrest or apoptosis in v-mos-transformed cells, nor was CDC2 or cyclin B1 down-regulated in those cells. These findings link the proapoptotic activity of PKR to the arrest of cell cycle at the G2/M phase. Consequently, the apoptotic activity of PKR could be counter-acted by an oncogene-like v-mos that overrides the G2/M arrest induced by PKR.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Uri Karo for his help with the flow-cytometry analysis and Avrille Goldreich for typing this manuscript. This work was supported by research grants from the Israel Cancer Research fund, the Israel Cancer Association (Melul Foundation, in memory of the late Prof N Trainin) and the CapCURE Research fund.
- Cell cycle