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Activation of the cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk1) cyclin B (CycB) complex (Cdk1:CycB) in mitosis brings about a remarkable extent of protein phosphorylation. Cdk1:CycB activation is switch-like, controlled by two auto-amplification loops--Cdk1:CycB activates its activating phosphatase, Cdc25, and inhibits its inhibiting kinase, Wee1. Recent experimental evidence suggests that parallel to Cdk1:CycB activation during mitosis, there is inhibition of its counteracting phosphatase activity. We argue that the downregulation of the phosphatase is not just a simple latch that suppresses futile cycles of phosphorylation/dephosphorylation during mitosis. Instead, we propose that phosphatase regulation creates coherent feed-forward loops and adds extra amplification loops to the Cdk1:CycB regulatory network, thus forming an integral part of the mitotic switch. These network motifs further strengthen the bistable characteristic of the mitotic switch, which is based on the antagonistic interaction of two groups of proteins: M-phase promoting factors (Cdk1:CycB, Cdc25, Greatwall and Endosulfine/Arpp19) and interphase promoting factors (Wee1, PP2A-B55 and a Greatwall counteracting phosphatase, probably PP1). The bistable character of the switch implies the existence of a CycB threshold for entry into mitosis. The end of G2 phase is determined by the point where CycB level crosses the CycB threshold for Cdk1 activation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1098/rstb.2011.0087

Type

Journal article

Journal

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date

27/12/2011

Volume

366

Pages

3584 - 3594

Keywords

Animals, CDC2 Protein Kinase, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Cyclin B, Enzyme Activation, Fungal Proteins, Interphase, Mitosis, Phosphorylation, Yeasts, cdc25 Phosphatases