Cell cycle regulation is characterized by alternating activities of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and of the ubiquitin ligase anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C). During S-phase APC/C is inhibited by early mitotic inhibitor 1 (Emi1) to allow the accumulation of cyclins A and B and to prevent re-replication. Emi1 is degraded at prophase by a Plk1-dependent pathway. Recent studies in which the degradation pathway of Emi1 was disrupted have shown that APC/C is activated at mitotic entry despite stabilization of Emi1. These results suggested the possibility of additional mechanisms other than degradation of Emi1, which release APC/C from inhibition by Emi1 upon entry into mitosis. In this study we report one such mechanism, by which the ability of Emi1 to inhibit APC/C is negatively regulated by CDKs. We show that in Plk1-inhibited cells Emi1 is stabilized and phosphorylated, that Emi1 is phosphorylated by CDKs in mitotic but not S-phase cell extracts, and that Emi1 phosphorylation by mitotic cell extracts or purified CDKs markedly reduces the ability of Emi1 to bind and to inhibit APC/C. Finally, we show that the addition of extracts from S-phase cells to extracts from mitotic cells protects Emi1 from CDK-mediated inactivation.