Biochemical and biophysical research communications

BTG/Tob family members Tob1 and Tob2 inhibit proliferation of mouse embryonic stem cells via Id3 mRNA degradation.

PMID 25951976


The mammalian BTG/Tob family is a group of proteins with anti-proliferative ability, and there are six members including BTG1, BTG2/PC3/Tis21, BTG3/ANA, BTG4/PC3B, Tob1/Tob and Tob2. Among them, Tob subfamily members, specifically Tob1/Tob and Tob2, have the most extensive C-terminal regions. As previously reported, overexpression of BTG/Tob proteins is associated with the inhibition of G1 to S-phase cell cycle progression and decreased cell proliferation in a variety of cell types. Tob subfamily proteins have similar anti-proliferative effects on cell cycle progression in cultured tumor cells. An important unresolved question is whether or not they have function in rapidly proliferating cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Tob1 and Tob2 were expressed ubiquitously in mouse ESCs (mESCs), suggesting a possible role in early embryonic development and mESCs. To address the above question and explore the possible functions of the Tob subfamily in ESCs, we established ESCs from different genotypic knockout inner cell mass (ICM). We found that Tob1(-/-), Tob2(-/-), and Tob1/2 double knockout (DKO, Tob1(-/-) & Tob2(-/-)) ESCs grew faster than wild type (WT) ESCs without losing pluripotency, and we provide a possible mechanistic explanation for these observations: Tob1 and Tob2 inhibit the cell cycle via degradation of Id3 mRNA, which is a set of directly targeted genes of BMP4 signaling in mESCs that play critical roles in the maintenance of ESC properties. Together, our data suggest that BTG/Tob family protein Tob1 and Tob2 regulation cell proliferation does not compromise the basic properties of mESCs.