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EMBO J. 1990 Sep;9(9):2865-75.

The A- and B-type cyclin associated cdc2 kinases in Xenopus turn on and off at different times in the cell cycle.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK.


Cyclins play a key role in the induction of mitosis. In this paper we report the isolation of a cyclin A cDNA clone from Xenopus eggs. Its cognate mRNA encodes a protein that shows characteristic accumulation and destruction during mitotic cell cycles. The cyclin A polypeptide is associated with a protein that cross-reacts with an antibody against the conserved 'PSTAIR' epitope of p34cdc2, and the cyclin A-cdc2 complex exhibits protein kinase activity that oscillates with the cell cycle. This kinase activity rises more smoothly than that of the cyclin B-cdc2 complexes and reaches a peak earlier in the cell cycle; indeed, cyclin A is destroyed before nuclear envelope breakdown. None of the cyclin-cdc2 complexes show simple relationships between the concentration of the cyclin moiety and the kinase activity. All three cyclin associated kinases (A, B1 and B2) phosphorylate identical sites on histones with the consensus XSPXK/R, although they show significant differences in their substrate preferences. We discuss possible models for the different roles of the A- and B-type cyclins in the control of cell division.

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