The D-type cyclins are expressed during the progression from G0/G1 to S phase in the mammalian cell cycle. There is considerable evidence that they contribute to the development of specific cancers, both in humans and in mouse models. For example, cyclin D1 can be activated by chromosomal translocation, DNA amplification and retroviral integration. Cyclins D1, D2 and D3 preferentially associate with two closely related members of the cyclin-dependent kinase family, Cdk4 and Cdk6 and the various complexes are each capable of phosphorylating the retinoblastoma gene product (pRb), at least in vitro. This suggests that the growth promoting effects of the D-cyclins may be manifest via their interactions with tumour suppressor genes.

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