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A maize cDNA encoding a member of the retinoblastoma protein family: involvement in endoreduplication.

  • G Grafi
  • R J Burnett
  • T Helentjaris
  • B A Larkins
  • J A DeCaprio
  • W R Sellers
  • W G Kaelin
Publication Date
Aug 20, 1996
  • Biology


Retinoblastoma (RB-1) is a tumor suppressor gene that encodes a 105-kDa nuclear phosphoprotein. To date, RB genes have been isolated only from metazoans. We have isolated a cDNA from maize endosperm whose predicted protein product (ZmRb) shows homology to the "pocket" A and B domains of the Rb protein family. We found ZmRb behaves as a pocket protein based on its ability to specifically interact with oncoproteins encoded by DNA tumor viruses (E7, T-Ag, E1A). ZmRb can interact in vitro and in vivo with the replication-associated protein, RepA, encoded by the wheat dwarf virus. The maize Rb-related protein undergoes changes in level and phosphorylation state concomitant with endoreduplication, and it is phosphorylated in vitro by an S-phase kinase from endoreduplicating endosperm cells. Together, our results suggest that ZmRb is a representative of the pocket protein family and may play a role in cell cycle progression. Moreover, certain plant monopartite geminiviruses may operate similarly to mammalian DNA viruses, by targeting and inactivating the retinoblastoma protein, which otherwise induces G1 arrest.

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