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As cells pass through each replication-division cycle, they must be able to postpone further progression if they detect any threats to genome integrity, such as DNA damage or misaligned chromosomes. Once a 'decision' is made to proceed, the cell unequivocally enters into a qualitatively different biochemical state, which makes the transitions from one cell cycle phase to the next switch-like and irreversible. Each transition is governed by a unique signalling network; nonetheless, they share a common characteristic of bistable behaviour, a hallmark of molecular memory devices. Comparing the cell cycle signalling mechanisms acting at the restriction point, G1/S, G2/M and meta-to-anaphase transitions, we deduce a generic network motif of coupled positive and negative feedback loops underlying each transition.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Cell Biol

Publication Date





7 - 16


Bistability, Cell cycle transition, Checkpoint, Feedback loop, G1/S transition, G2/M transition, Hysteresis, Irreversible switch, Meta/anaphase transition, Network motif, Restriction point