Jia-Yun’s Paper is Out in Molecular Cell
October 2, 2013
Mammalian cells have a remarkable capacity to compensate for heterozygous gene loss or extra gene copies. One exception is Down syndrome (DS), where a third copy of chromosome 21 mediates neurogenesis defects and lowers the frequency of solid tumors. Here we combine live-cell imaging and single-cell analysis to show that increased dosage of chromosome 21-localized Dyrk1a steeply increases G1 cell cycle duration through direct phosphorylation and degradation of cyclin D1 (CycD1). DS-derived fibroblasts showed analogous cell cycle changes that were reversed by Dyrk1a inhibition. Furthermore, reducing Dyrk1a activity increased CycD1 expression to force a bifurcation, with one subpopulation of cells accelerating proliferation and the other arresting proliferation by costabilizing CycD1 and the CDK inhibitor p21. Thus, dosage of Dyrk1a repositions cells within a p21-CycD1 signaling map, directing each cell to either proliferate or to follow two distinct cell cycle exit pathways characterized by high or low CycD1 and p21 levels.