To investigate the intracellular signaling pathway(s) that mediates the inhibition of MRF-induced myogenesis by oncogenic Ras, we tested two transformation-defective H-Ras 12V effector domain variants for their ability to alter terminal differentiation.
H-Ras 12V,35S retains the ability to activate the Raf/MEK/mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade, whereas H-Ras 12V,40C is unable to interact directly with Raf-1 yet still influences other signaling intermediates, including Rac and Rho.
Expression of each H-Ras 12V variant in C3H10T1/2 cells abrogates MyoD-induced activation of the complete myogenic program, suggesting that MAP kinase-dependent and -independent Ras signaling pathways individually block myogenesis in this model system.
The pRB-related proteins p107 and p130 are thought to suppress growth in part through their associations with two important cell cycle kinases, cyclin A-cdk2 and cyclin E-cdk2, and transcription factor E2F. Although each protein plays a critical role in cell proliferation, the functional consequences of the association among growth suppressor, cyclin-dependent kinase, and transcription factor have remained elusive. In an attempt to understand the biochemical properties of such complexes, we reconstituted each of the p130-cyclin-cdk2 and p107-cyclin-cdk2 complexes found in vivo with purified, recombinant proteins. Similarly, treatment of Ras-inhibited myoblasts with the MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 revealed that elevated MAP kinase activity is not a significant contributor to the H-Ras 12V effect.
These data suggest that an additional Ras pathway, distinct from the well-characterized MAP kinase and Rac/Rho pathways known to be important for the transforming function of activated Ras, is primarily responsible for the inhibition of myogenesis by H-Ras 12V.
However, additional studies with constitutively activated Rac1 and RhoA proteins revealed no negative effects on MyoD-induced myogenesis. Strikingly, stoichiometric association of p107 or p130 with either cyclin E-cdk2 or cyclin A-cdk2 negated the activities of these kinases. The results of these experiments suggest a mechanism whereby p130 and p107 suppress growth by inhibiting important cell cycle kinases.
The results of our experiments suggest that inhibition does not result from substrate competition or loss of cdk2 activation. Kinase inhibitory activity was dependent upon an amino-terminal region of p107 that is highly conserved with p130. The PRP31 gene encodes a factor essential for the splicing of pre-mRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Further, a role for this amino-terminal region in growth suppression was uncovered by using p107 mutants unable to bind E2F.
To determine whether cellular complexes might display similar regulatory properties, we purified p130-cyclin A-cdk2 complexes from human cells and found that such complexes exist in two forms, one that contains E2F-4-DP-1 and one that lacks the heterodimer. Breast cancers often progress from a hormone-dependent, nonmetastatic, antiestrogen-sensitive phenotype to a hormone-independent, antiestrogen- and chemotherapy-resistant phenotype with highly invasive and metastatic growth properties.
These endogenous complexes behaved like the in vitro-reconstituted complexes, exhibiting low levels of associated kinase activity that could be significantly augmented by dissociation of p130. These results suggest that Prp31p is involved in recruiting the U4/U6 x U5 tri-snRNP to prespliceosome complexes or in stabilizing these interactions.
Cell extracts derived from a prp31-1 strain fail to form mature spliceosomes upon heat inactivation, although commitment complexes and prespliceosome complexes are detected under these conditions. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments indicate that Prp31p is associated both with the U4/U6 x U5 tri-snRNP and, independently, with the prespliceosome prior to assembly of the tri-snRNP into the splicing complex.
Nondenaturing gel electrophoresis and glycerol gradient analyses demonstrate that while Prp31p may play a role in maintaining the assembly or stability of tri-snRNPs, functional protein is not essential for the formation of U4/U6 or U4/U6 x U5 snRNPs.