Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 19–20, pp 2397–2404 | Cite as

p27 small interfering RNA induces cell death through elevating cell cycle activity in cultured cortical neurons: a proof-of-concept study

Research Article


Recent research has demonstrated that cell cycle-associated molecules are activated in multiple forms of cell death in mature neurons, and raised a hypothesis that unscheduled cell cycle activity leads to neuronal cell death. But there is little evidence that changes in endogenous level of these molecules are causally associated with neuronal cell death. Here we transfected small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27, which plays an important role in cell cycle arrest at G1-S phase, into cultured cortical neurons. Transfection of p27 siRNA reduced neuronal viability in a time-dependent manner. p27 siRNA induced phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (Rb), a marker of cell cycle progression at late G1 phase. Moreover, phosphorylation of Rb and neuronal cell death provoked by p27 siRNA were abrogated by pharmacological CDK inhibitors, olomoucine and purvalanol A. Our data demonstrate that a decrease in endogenous p27 induces neuronal cell death through elevating cell cycle activity.


Small interfering RNA cell cycle p27 retinoblastoma protein cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors neuronal death 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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