Activation of the T cell receptor in leukemic T cell lines or T cell hybridomas causes growth inhibition. A similar growth inhibition is seen when protein kinase C is activated through addition of phorbol myristate acetate. This inhibition is due to an arrest of cell cycle progression in G 1 combined with an induction of apoptosis. Here we have investigated the mechanism by which these stimuli induce inhibition of proliferation in Jurkat and H9 leukemic T cell lines. We show that expression of cyclin D3 is reduced by each of these stimuli, resulting in a concomitant reduction in cyclin D- associated kinase activity. This reduction in cyclin D3-expression is crucial to the observed G 1 arrest, since ectopic expression of cyclin D3 can abrogate the G 1 arrest seen with each of these stimuli. Moreover, ectopic expression of cyclin D3 also prevents the induction of programmed cell death by phorbol myristate acetate and T-cell receptor activation, leading us to conclude that cyclin D3 not only plays a crucial role in progression through the G 1 phase, but is also involved in regulating apoptosis of T cells.
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