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Cytokinesis follows separase activation and chromosome segregation. This order is ensured in budding yeast by the mitotic exit network (MEN), where Cdc14p dephosphorylates key conserved Cdk1-substrates exemplified by the anaphase spindle-elongation protein Ase1p. However, in metazoans, MEN and Cdc14 function is not conserved. Instead, the PP2A-B55α/ENSA/Greatwall (BEG) pathway controls the human Ase1p ortholog PRC1. In this pathway, PP2A-B55 inhibition is coupled to Cdk1-cyclin B activity, whereas separase inhibition is maintained by cyclin B concentration. This creates two cyclin B thresholds during mitotic exit. Simulation and experiments using PRC1 as a model substrate show that the first threshold permits separase activation and chromosome segregation, and the second permits PP2A-B55 activation and initiation of cytokinesis. Removal of the ENSA/Greatwall (EG) timer module eliminates this second threshold, as well as associated delay in PRC1 dephosphorylation and initiation of cytokinesis, by uncoupling PP2A-B55 from Cdk1-cyclin B activity. Therefore, temporal order during mitotic exit is promoted by the metazoan BEG pathway.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell

Publication Date





393 - 405


CDC2 Protein Kinase, Chromosome Segregation, Chromosomes, Cyclin B, Cytokinesis, HeLa Cells, Humans, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Mitosis, Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases, Protein Phosphatase 2, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Separase, Signal Transduction