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Eukaryot Cell. 2010 Sep;9(9):1311-9. doi: 10.1128/EC.00038-10. Epub 2010 Jul 16.

Candida albicans cyclin Clb4 carries S-phase cyclin activity.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-ITT and the Rappaport Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Haifa 31096, Israel.


Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are key regulators of eukaryotic cell cycle progression. The cyclin subunit activates the CDK and also imparts to the complex, at least in some cases, substrate specificity. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an organism in which the roles of individual cyclins are best studied, contains nine cyclins (three G(1) cyclins and six B-type cyclins) capable of activating the main cell cycle CDK, Cdc28. Analysis of the genome of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans revealed only two sequences corresponding to B-type cyclins, C. albicans Clb2 (CaClb2) and CaClb4. Notably, no homolog of the S. cerevisiae S-phase-specific cyclins, Clb5/Clb6, could be detected. Here, we performed an in vitro analysis of the activity of CaClb2 and CaClb4 and of three G(1) cyclins, as well as an analysis of the phenotype of S. cerevisiae cells expressing CaClb2 or CaClb4 instead of Clb5. Remarkably, replacement of CLB5 by CaCLB4 caused rapid diploidization of S. cerevisiae. In addition, both in vivo and in vitro analyses indicate that, in spite of the higher sequence similarity of CaClb2 to Clb5/Clb6, CaClb4 is the functional homolog of Clb5/Clb6. The activity of a CaClb2/CaClb4 cyclin hybrid suggests that the cyclin box domain of CaClb4 carries the functional specificity of the protein. These results have implications for our understanding of the evolution of specificity of the cell cycle cyclins.

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