Developmental cell

CRL2(LRR-1) targets a CDK inhibitor for cell cycle control in C. elegans and actin-based motility regulation in human cells.

PMID 21074724


The Cip/Kip CDK inhibitor (CKI) p21(Cip1/WAF1) has a critical role in the nucleus to limit cell proliferation by inhibiting CDK-cyclin complexes. In contrast, cytoplasmic p21 regulates cell survival and the actin cytoskeleton. These divergent functions for p21 in different cellular compartments suggest the necessity for complex regulation. In this study, we identify the CRL2(LRR-1) ubiquitin ligase as a conserved regulator of Cip/Kip CKIs that promotes the degradation of C. elegans CKI-1 and human p21. The nematode CRL2(LRR-1) complex negatively regulates nuclear CKI-1 levels to ensure G1-phase cell cycle progression in germ cells. In contrast, human CRL2(LRR1) targets cytoplasmic p21, acting as a critical regulator of cell motility that promotes a nonmotile stationary cell state by preventing p21 from inhibiting the Rho/ROCK/LIMK pathway. Inactivation of human CRL2(LRR1) leads to the activation of the actin-depolymerizing protein cofilin, dramatic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, and increased cell motility.