Fine tuning the cell cycle: activation of the Cdk1 inhibitory phosphorylation pathway during mitotic exit. Academic Article uri icon


  • Inactivation of cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) 1 promotes exit from mitosis and establishes G1. Proteolysis of cyclin B is the major known mechanism that turns off Cdk1 during mitotic exit. Here, we show that mitotic exit also activates pathways that catalyze inhibitory phosphorylation of Cdk1, a mechanism previously known to repress Cdk1 only during S and G2 phases of the cell cycle. We present evidence that down-regulation of Cdk1 activates Wee1 and Myt1 kinases and inhibits Cdc25 phosphatase during the M to G1 transition. If cyclin B/Cdk1 complex is present in G1, the inhibitory sites on Cdk1 become phosphorylated. Exit from mitosis induced by chemical Cdk inhibition can be reversed if cyclin B is preserved. However, this reversibility decreases with time after mitotic exit despite the continued presence of the cyclin. We show that this G1 block is due to phosphorylation of Cdk1 on inhibitory residues T14 and Y15. Chemical inhibition of Wee1 and Myt1 or expression of Cdk1 phosphorylation site mutants allows reversal to M phase even from late G1. This late Cdk1 reactivation often results in caspase-dependent cell death. Thus, in G1, the Cdk inhibitory phosphorylation pathway is functional and can lock Cdk1 in the inactive state.

publication date

  • March 2009