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Mol Cell. 2012 Mar 9;45(5):669-79. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.12.033. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Cyclin-dependent kinases are regulators and effectors of oscillations driven by a transcription factor network.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

Erratum in

  • Mol Cell. 2013 Mar 28;49(6):1177-9.


During embryonic cell cycles, B-cyclin-CDKs function as the core component of an autonomous oscillator. Current models for the cell-cycle oscillator in nonembryonic cells are slightly more complex, incorporating multiple G1, S phase, and mitotic cyclin-CDK complexes. However, periodic events persist in yeast cells lacking all S phase and mitotic B-cyclin genes, challenging the assertion that cyclin-CDK complexes are essential for oscillations. These and other results led to the proposal that a network of sequentially activated transcription factors functions as an underlying cell-cycle oscillator. Here we examine the individual contributions of a transcription factor network and cyclin-CDKs to the maintenance of cell-cycle oscillations. Our findings suggest that while cyclin-CDKs are not required for oscillations, they do contribute to oscillation robustness. A model emerges in which cyclin expression (thereby, CDK activity) is entrained to an autonomous transcriptional oscillator. CDKs then modulate oscillator function and serve as effectors of the oscillator.

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