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Development. 1999 Dec;126(23):5505-13.

Cyclin A and B functions in the early Drosophila embryo.

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Department of Zoology, Box 351800, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1800, USA.


In eukaryotes, mitotic cyclins localize differently in the cell and regulate different aspects of the cell cycle. We investigated the relationship between subcellular localization of cyclins A and B and their functions in syncytial preblastoderm Drosophila embryos. During early embryonic cycles, cyclin A was always concentrated in the nucleus and present at a low level in the cytoplasm. Cyclin B was predominantly cytoplasmic, and localized within nuclei only during late prophase. Also, cyclin B colocalized with metaphase but not anaphase spindle microtubules. We changed maternal gene doses of cyclins A and B to test their functions in preblastoderm embryos. We observed that increasing doses of cyclin B increased cyclin B-Cdk1 activity, which correlated with shorter microtubules and slower microtubule-dependent nuclear movements. This provides in vivo evidence that cyclin B-Cdk1 regulates microtubule dynamics. In addition, the overall duration of the early nuclear cycles was affected by cyclin A but not cyclin B levels. Taken together, our observations support the hypothesis that cyclin B regulates cytoskeletal changes while cyclin A regulates the nuclear cycles. Varying the relative levels of cyclins A and B uncoupled the cytoskeletal and nuclear events, so we speculate that a balance of cyclins is necessary for proper coordination during these embryonic cycles.

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