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Mol Syst Biol. 2009;5:328. doi: 10.1038/msb.2009.78. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Analysis of the mitotic exit control system using locked levels of stable mitotic cyclin.

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Laboratory of Yeast Molecular Genetics, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) both promotes mitotic entry (spindle assembly and anaphase) and inhibits mitotic exit (spindle disassembly and cytokinesis), leading to an elegant quantitative hypothesis that a single cyclin oscillation can function as a ratchet to order these events. This ratchet is at the core of a published ODE model for the yeast cell cycle. However, the ratchet model requires appropriate cyclin dose-response thresholds. Here, we test the inhibition of mitotic exit in budding yeast using graded levels of stable mitotic cyclin (Clb2). In opposition to the ratchet model, stable levels of Clb2 introduced dose-dependent delays, rather than hard thresholds, that varied by mitotic exit event. The ensuing cell cycle was highly abnormal, suggesting a novel reason for cyclin degradation. Cdc14 phosphatase antagonizes Clb2-Cdk, and Cdc14 is released from inhibitory nucleolar sequestration independently of stable Clb2. Thus, Cdc14/Clb2 balance may be the appropriate variable for mitotic regulation. Although our results are inconsistent with the aforementioned ODE model, revision of the model to allow Cdc14/Clb2 balance to control mitotic exit corrects these discrepancies, providing theoretical support for our conclusions.

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