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The eukaryotic cell division cycle consists of two characteristic states: G1, when replication origins of chromosomes are in a pre-replicative state, and S/G2/M, when they are in a post-replicative state (Nasmyth, 1995). Using straightforward biochemical kinetics, we show that these two states can be created by antagonistic interactions between cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk) and their foes: the cyclin-degradation machinery (APC) and a stoichiometric inhibitor (CKI). Irreversible transitions between these two self-maintaining steady states drive progress through the cell cycle: at "Start" a cell leaves the G1 state and commences chromosome replication, and at "Finish" the cell separates the products of replication to the incipient daughter cells and re-enters G1. We propose that a protein-phosphatase, by up-regulating the APC and by stabilizing the CKI, plays an essential role at Finish. The phosphatase acts in parallel pathways; hence, cells can leave mitosis in the absence of cyclin degradation or in the absence of the CKI.

Original publication




Journal article


J Theor Biol

Publication Date





223 - 233


Animals, Cell Cycle, Computer Simulation, Cyclin-Dependent Kinases, Eukaryotic Cells, Models, Biological