The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 297 - 305 (2007)

Vol 51, Issue 4

Cyclin B2/cyclin-dependent kinase1 dissociation precedes CDK1 Thr-161 dephosphorylation upon M-phase promoting factor inactivation in Xenopus laevis cell-free extract

Original Article | Published: 1 May 2007

Franck Chesnel, Franck Bazile, Aude Pascal and Jacek Z. Kubiak*

Institute of Genetics & Development, CNRS-UMR 6061, Mitosis and Meiosis Group, IFR140 GFAS, University of Rennes 1, Faculty of Medicine, Rennes, France


Cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) is the enzymatic subunit of M-phase Promoting Factor (MPF). It is positively regulated by phosphorylation on Thr-161 and association with a cyclin B molecule. The role of Thr-161 dephosphorylation upon MPF inactivation remains unclear; nevertheless, degradation of cyclin B is thought to be a direct cause of MPF inactivation. However, MPF inactivation actually precedes cyclin B degradation in Xenopus cell-free extracts. Here we study in details the temporal relationship between histone H1 kinase (reflecting MPF activity) inactivation, Thr-161 dephosphorylation, CDK1-cyclin B2 dissociation and cyclin B2 proteolysis in such extracts. We show an asynchrony between inactivation of histone H1 kinase and degradation of cyclin B2. CDK1 dephosphorylation on Thr 161 is an even later event than cyclin B2 degradation, reinforcing the hypothesis that cyclin B dissociation from CDK1 is the key event inactivating MPF. Cyclins synthesized along with MPF inactivation could deliver shortly living active MPF molecules, potentially increasing the asynchrony between histone H1 kinase inactivation and cyclin B2 degradation. We confirm this by showing that in the absence of protein synthesis, such a tendency is lower, but nevertheless, still detectable. Finally, to characterise better CDK1/cyclin B dissociation, we show that CDK1 begins to dissociate from cyclin B2 before the very beginning of cyclin B2 degradation and that the diminution in CDK1-associated cyclin B2 is faster than the decline of its total pool. Thus, neither cyclin B2 degradation nor Thr-161 dephosphorylation participates directly in CDK1 inactivation as measured by histone H1 kinase decline upon the exit from mitotic M-phase in Xenopus embryo extract.


cell cycle, histone H1 kinase, mitosis, protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, Thr-161

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