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Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Nov;14(11):4695-706. Epub 2003 Aug 7.

Cyclin aggregation and robustness of bio-switching.

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Center for Biomedical Imaging Technology, Department of Physiology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06032, USA.


During the cell cycle, Cdc2-cyclin B kinase abruptly becomes active and triggers the entry into mitosis/meiosis. Recently, it was found that inactive Cdc2-cyclin B is present in aggregates in immature starfish oocytes and becomes disaggregated at the time of its activation during maturation. We discuss a possible scenario in which aggregation of Cdc2-cyclin B dramatically enhances robustness of this activation. In this scenario, only inactive Cdc2-cyclin B can form aggregates, and the aggregates are in equilibrium with inactive Cdc2-cyclin B in solution. During maturation, the hormone-triggered inactivation of Myt1 depletes the soluble inactive Cdc2-cyclin B and the turnover leads to dissolution of the aggregates. This phase change, when coupled with the instability of the signaling network, provides a robust bio-switch.

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