Distinct roles for RB loss on cell cycle control, cisplatin response, and immortalization in Schwann cells

Sarah L. Seeley, Emily E. Bosco, Elizabeth Kramer, Linda M. Parysek, Erik S. Knudsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Schwann cells play a critical role in peripheral nerve function. Regulated proliferation of Schwann cells is an important facet of the response to nerve injury; however, aberrant proliferation can give rise to Schwann cell tumors such as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). These tumors exhibit a range of genetic lesions that include loss of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor (RB) pathway. RB plays a critical role in the regulation of cellular proliferation and its loss is a common event in human cancers. Here, the specific action of RB loss on Schwann cell proliferation and response to therapeutic intervention was explored. In primary mouse Schwann cells, conditional RB loss led to increased levels of critical cell cycle regulatory gene products, yet provided only a modest influence on proliferation. However, RB-deficient Schwann cells efficiently bypassed the cell cycle inhibitory response to the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin, which is used in the treatment of MPNST and other glial tumors. Surprisingly, RB loss did not facilitate Schwann cell immortalization; and RB-deficient cells actually were less prone to immortalization than cells containing RB. Furthermore, RB-deficient cells that ultimately re-entered the cell cycle had lost both Schwann cell morphology and markers. Since, RB loss is likely a late event in Schwann cell tumor progression, the action of acute RB loss in immortalized Schwann cells was investigated. In this context, loss of RB had a profound effect on expression of target genes and the response to cisplatin. Thus, the loss of RB in both primary and immortal Schwann cells disrupted the response to anti-mitogenic signals and has implications for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-217
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 8 2007


  • Cell cycle
  • Cisplatin
  • Cyclin
  • E2F
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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