Monitoring Spontaneous Quiescence and Asynchronous Proliferation-Quiescence Decisions in Prostate Cancer Cells

Ajai J. Pulianmackal, Dan Sun, Kenji Yumoto, Zhengda Li, Yu Chih Chen, Meha V. Patel, Yu Wang, Euisik Yoon, Alexander Pearson, Qiong Yang, Russell Taichman, Frank C. Cackowski, Laura A. Buttitta

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The proliferation-quiescence decision is a dynamic process that remains incompletely understood. Live-cell imaging with fluorescent cell cycle sensors now allows us to visualize the dynamics of cell cycle transitions and has revealed that proliferation-quiescence decisions can be highly heterogeneous, even among clonal cell lines in culture. Under normal culture conditions, cells often spontaneously enter non-cycling G0 states of varying duration and depth. This also occurs in cancer cells and G0 entry in tumors may underlie tumor dormancy and issues with cancer recurrence. Here we show that a cell cycle indicator previously shown to indicate G0 upon serum starvation, mVenus-p27K-, can also be used to monitor spontaneous quiescence in untransformed and cancer cell lines. We find that the duration of spontaneous quiescence in untransformed and cancer cells is heterogeneous and that a portion of this heterogeneity results from asynchronous proliferation-quiescence decisions in pairs of daughters after mitosis, where one daughter cell enters or remains in temporary quiescence while the other does not. We find that cancer dormancy signals influence both entry into quiescence and asynchronous proliferation-quiescence decisions after mitosis. Finally, we show that spontaneously quiescent prostate cancer cells exhibit altered expression of components of the Hippo pathway and are enriched for the stem cell markers CD133 and CD44. This suggests a hypothesis that dormancy signals could promote cancer recurrence by increasing the proportion of quiescent tumor cells poised for cell cycle re-entry with stem cell characteristics in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number728663
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 10

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Pulianmackal, Sun, Yumoto, Li, Chen, Patel, Wang, Yoon, Pearson, Yang, Taichman, Cackowski and Buttitta.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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