Racing to block tumorigenesis after pRb loss: An innocuous point mutation wins with synthetic lethality

Frederick Bauzon, Liang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A major goal of tumor suppressor research is to neutralize the tumorigenic effects of their loss. Since loss of pRb does not induce tumorigenesis in many types of cells, natural mechanisms may neutralize the tumorigenic effects of prb loss in these cells. For susceptible cells, neutralizing the tumorigenic effects of pRb loss could logically be achieved by correcting the deregulated activities of pRb targets to render pRb-deficient cells less abnormal. This line of research has unexpectedly revealed that knocking out the prb target Skp2 did not render Rb1 deficient cells less abnormal but, rather, induced apoptosis in them, thereby completely blocking tumorigenesis in Rb1+/- mice and after targeted deletion of Rb1 in pituitary intermediate lobe (IL). Skp2 is a substrate-recruiting component of the SCFSkp2 E3 biquitin ligase; one of its substrates is Thr187-phosphorylated p27Kip1. A p27T187A knockin (KI) mutation phenocopied Skp2 knockout (KO) in inducing apoptosis following Rb1 loss. Thus, Skp2 KO or p27T187A KI are synthetic lethal with pRb inactivation. Since homozygous p27T187A KI mutations show no adverse effects in mice, inhibiting p27T187 phosphorylation or p27T187p ubiquitination could be a highly therapeutic and minimally toxic intervention strategy for pRb deficiency-induced tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2118-2123
Number of pages6
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • E2F
  • Skp2
  • Synthetic lethal
  • p27
  • pRb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Racing to block tumorigenesis after pRb loss: An innocuous point mutation wins with synthetic lethality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this