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J Biol Chem. 1997 Aug 29;272(35):22300-6.

Human Myt1 is a cell cycle-regulated kinase that inhibits Cdc2 but not Cdk2 activity.

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Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Richmond, California 94806-5206, USA.


Activation of the Cdc2.cyclin B kinase is a pivotal step of mitotic initiation. This step is mediated principally by the dephosphorylation of residues threonine 14 (Thr14) and tyrosine 15 (Tyr15) on the Cdc2 catalytic subunit. In several organisms homologs of the Wee1 kinase have been shown to be the major activity responsible for phosphorylating the Tyr15 inhibitory site. A membrane-bound kinase capable of phosphorylating residue Thr14, the Myt1 kinase, has been identified in the frog Xenopus laevis and more recently in human. In this study, we have examined the substrate specificity and cell cycle regulation of the human Myt1 kinase. We find that human Myt1 phosphorylates and inactivates Cdc2-containing cyclin complexes but not complexes containing Cdk2 or Cdk4. Analysis of endogenous Myt1 demonstrates that it remains membrane-bound throughout the cell cycle, but its kinase activity decreased during M phase arrest, when Myt1 became hyperphosphorylated. Further, Cdc2. cyclin B1 was capable of phosphorylating Myt1 in vitro, but this phosphorylation did not affect Myt1 kinase activity. These findings suggest that human Myt1 is negatively regulated by an M phase-activated kinase and that Myt1 inhibits mitosis due to its specificity for Cdc2.cyclin complexes.

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