CDK4 inhibition diminishes p53 activation by MDM2 antagonists

Anusha Sriraman, Antje Dickmanns, Zeynab Najafova, Steven A. Johnsen, Matthias Dobbelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The genes encoding MDM2 and CDK4 are frequently co-amplified in sarcomas, and inhibitors to both targets are approved or clinically tested for therapy. However, we show that inhibitors of MDM2 and CDK4 antagonize each other in their cytotoxicity towards sarcoma cells. CDK4 inhibition attenuates the induction of p53-responsive genes upon MDM2 inhibition. Moreover, the p53 response was also attenuated when co-depleting MDM2 and CDK4 with siRNA, compared to MDM2 single knockdown. The complexes of p53 and MDM2, as well as CDK4 and Cyclin D1, physically associated with each other, suggesting direct regulation of p53 by CDK4. Interestingly, CDK4 inhibition did not reduce p53 binding or histone acetylation at promoters, but rather attenuated the subsequent recruitment of RNA Polymerase II. Taken together, our results suggest that caution must be used when considering combined CDK4 and MDM2 inhibition for patient treatment. Moreover, they uncover a hitherto unknown role for CDK4 and Cyclin D1 in sustaining p53 activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number918
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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