Cyclin D1 binds to the Cdk4 and Cdk6 to form a pRB kinase. Upon phosphorylation, pRB loses its repressive activity for the E2F transcription factor, which then activates transcription of several genes required for the transition from the G1- to S-phase and for DNA replication. The cyclin D1 gene is rearranged and overexpressed in centrocytic lymphomas and parathyroid tumors and it is amplified and/or overexpressed in a major fraction of human tumors of various types of cancer. Ectopic overexpression of cyclin D1 in fibroblast cultures shortens the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that introduction of an antisense cyclin D1 into a human carcinoma cell line, in which the cyclin D1 gene is amplified and overexpressed, causes reversion of the malignant phenotype. Thus, increased expression of cyclin D1 can play a critical role in tumor development and in maintenance of the malignant phenotype. However, it is insufficient to confer transformed properties on primary or established fibroblasts. In this review, we summarize the role of cyclin D1 on tumor development and malignant transformation. In addition, our chemical biology study to understand the regulatory mechanism of cyclin D1 transcription is also reviewed.
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