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EMBO J. 1994 Apr 15;13(8):1863-72.

A B-type cyclin negatively regulates conjugation via interacting with cell cycle 'start' genes in fission yeast.

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Okayama Cell Switching Project, ERATO, JRDC, Kyoto, Japan.


In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the cdc10+/SWI family members constitute the cell cycle 'start' genes. res1+ and res2+ are the newly identified members of this family and encode putative association partners of the Cdc10 protein. The Pat1 kinase plays a pivotal role in switching between vegetative growth and sexual development, and its inactivation in haploid cells induces unconditional growth arrest and subsequent meiosis. We have identified as an extragenic suppressor of a temperature sensitive pat1-114 mutant, a new B-type cyclin that negatively regulates conjugation by interacting with these 'start' genes. This cyclin, named Cyc17, is highly homologous with Cdc13, but has no detectable activity as a mitotic cyclin. Deletion of cyc17+ markedly enhances conjugation, despite the presence of nitrogen source, and accelerates growth arrest in G1 upon nitrogen starvation. Conversely, overexpression of the cyc17+ gene strongly inhibits conjugation. The cyc17+ gene is transcribed into 3.2 kb poly(A)+ and 3.0 kb poly(A)- RNAs. Only the poly(A)+ species is expressed during vegetative growth and periodically with a peak in the G1 and S phases of the cell cycle. On the other hand, the poly(A)- transcript is highly induced during conjugation. This induction is lost in res2- cells, whereas the poly(A)+ transcript is significantly reduced in res1- cells. However, the mating inhibition as well as the ability to rescue the pat1 mutation by overexpression of res1+ and res2+ are totally abolished in cyc17- cells. Thus, in S.pombe, a B-type cyclin, regulated by the newly identified cell cycle 'start' genes, plays a crucial role in the control of sexual development.

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