Thymidine kinase (TK) is a nucleotide salvage pathway enzyme whose activity is highly dependent on the growth state and cell cycle phase of a cell. Cells in the resting or quiescent (G0) phase express very low levels of TK mRNA and protein. When quiescent cells are stimulated to enter the cell cycle by the addition of serum, TK mRNA, activity and polypeptide increase coordinately after about 10-15 h, at the beginning of S phase. When growth-independent heterologous promoters are substituted for the natural TK promoter, TK mRNA can be expressed in quiescent cells. Despite the presence of TK mRNA in such G0 cells, there is little expression of TK polypeptide; the normal increase in enzyme at S phase is observed following serum stimulation. Deletion of the introns and 3' untranslated sequences does not affect the expression of the TK gene in serum stimulation experiments. In contrast, deletion of the C-terminal 40 amino acids or fusion of a small segment of a β-galactosidase to the C-terminus overcomes the block to expression of the TK polypeptide in G0 cells. These C-terminal alterations are the same as those which lead to constitutive expression of TK during the cell cycle of proliferating cells, suggesting that mechanisms which control the levels of TK in cycling cells may also operate in quiescent cells.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Sep 17 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research