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Curr Biol. 2001 Feb 6;11(3):151-60.

The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor Roughex is involved in mitotic exit in Drosophila.

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Institut für Genetik, Universität zu Köln, Weyertal 121, D-50931, Köln, Germany.



Exit from mitosis is a tightly regulated event. This process has been studied in greatest detail in budding yeast, where several activities have been identified that cooperate to downregulate activity of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) Cdc28 and force an exit from mitosis. Cdc28 is inactivated through proteolysis of B-type cyclins by the multisubunit ubiquitin ligase termed the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) and inhibition by the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CKI) Sic1. In contrast, the only mechanism known to be essential for CDK inactivation during mitosis in higher eukaryotes is cyclin destruction.


We now present evidence that the Drosophila CKI Roughex (Rux) contributes to exit from mitosis. Observations of fixed and living embryos show that metaphase is significantly longer in rux mutants than in wild-type embryos. In addition, Rux overexpression is sufficient to drive cells experimentally arrested in metaphase into interphase. Furthermore, rux mutant embryos are impaired in their ability to overcome a transient metaphase arrest induced by expression of a stable cyclin A. Rux has numerous functional similarities with Sic1. While these proteins share no sequence similarity, we show that Sic1 inhibits mitotic Cdk1-cyclin complexes from Drosophila in vitro and in vivo.


Rux inhibits Cdk1-cyclin A kinase activity during metaphase, thereby contributing to exit from mitosis. To our knowledge, this is the first mitotic function ascribed to a CKI in a multicellular organism and indicates the existence of a novel regulatory mechanism for the metaphase to anaphase transition during development.

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