Cdk phosphorylation triggers sequential intramolecular interactions that progressively block Rb functions as cells move through G1.
We present evidence that phosphorylation of the C-terminal region of Rb by Cdk4/6 initiates successive intramolecular interactions between the C-terminal region and the central pocket. The initial interaction displaces histone deacetylase from the pocket, blocking active transcriptional repression by Rb. This facilitates a second interaction that leads to phosphorylation of the pocket by Cdk2 and disruption of pocket structure. These intramolecular interactions provide a molecular basis for sequential phosphorylation of Rb by Cdk4/6 and Cdk2. Cdk4/6 is activated early in G1, blocking active repression by Rb. However, it is not until near the end of G1, when cyclin E is expressed and Cdk2 is activated, that Rb is prevented from binding and inactivating E2F.