Cdc25 and Wee1: Analogous opposites?

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Movement through the cell cycle is controlled by the temporally and spatially ordered activation of cyclin-dependent kinases paired with their respective cyclin binding partners. Cell cycle events occur in a stepwise fashion and are monitored by molecular surveillance systems to ensure that each cell cycle process is appropriately completed before subsequent events are initiated. Cells prevent entry into mitosis while DNA replication is ongoing, or if DNA is damaged, via checkpoint mechanisms that inhibit the activators and activate the inhibitors of mitosis, Cdc25 and Wee1, respectively. Once DNA replication has been faithfully completed, Cdc2/Cyclin B is swiftly activated for a timely transition from interphase into mitosis. This sharp transition is propagated through both positive and negative feedback loops that impinge upon Cdc25 and Wee1 to ensure that Cdc2/Cyclin B is fully activated. Recent reports from a number of laboratories have revealed a remarkably complex network of kinases and phosphatases that coordinately control Cdc25 and Wee1, thereby precisely regulating the transition into mitosis. Although not all factors that inhibit Cdc25 have been shown to activate Wee1 and vice versa, a number of regulatory modules are clearly shared in common. Thus, studies on either the Cdc25 or Wee1-regulatory arm of the mitotic control pathway should continue to shed light on how both arms are coordinated to smoothly regulate mitotic entry. © 2007 Perry and Kornbluth; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.






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Perry, JA, and S Kornbluth (2007). Cdc25 and Wee1: Analogous opposites?. Cell Division, 2. 10.1186/1747-1028-2-12 Retrieved from

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Sally A. Kornbluth

Jo Rae Wright University Distinguished Professor Emerita

Our lab studies the regulation of complex cellular processes, including cell cycle progression and programmed cell death (apoptosis). These tightly orchestrated processes are critical for appropriate cell proliferation and cell death, and when they go awry can result in cancer and degenerative disorders. Within these larger fields, we have focused on understanding the cellular mechanisms that prevent the onset of mitosis prior to the completion of DNA replication, the processes that prevent cell division when the mitotic spindle is disrupted, the signaling pathways that prevent apoptotic cell death in cancer cells and the mechanisms that link cell metabolism to cell death and survival.

In our quest to answer these important cell biological and biochemical questions, we are varied in our use of experimental systems.   Traditionally, we have used cell-free extracts prepared from eggs of the frog Xenopus laevis which can recapitulate cell cycle events and apoptotic processes in vitro. For the study of cell cycle events, extracts are prepared which can undergo multiple rounds of DNA replication and mitosis in vitro. Progression through the cell cycle can be monitored by microscopic observation of nuclear morphology and by biochemically assaying the activity of serine/threonine kinases which control cell cycle transitions.

For the study of apoptosis, modifications in extract preparation have allowed us to produce extracts which can apoptotically fragment nuclei and can accurately reproduce the biochemical events of apoptosis, including internucleosomal DNA cleavage and activation of apoptotic proteases, the caspases.

More recently, we have focused on studying apoptosis and cell cycle progression in mammalian models, both tissue culture cells and mouse models of cancer.  In these studies, we are trying to determine the precise signaling mechanisms used by cancer cells to accelerate proliferation and evade apoptotic cell death mechanisms.   We also endeavor to subvert these mechanisms to therapeutic advantage.   We are particularly interested in links between metabolism and cell death, as high metabolic rates in cancer cells appear to suppress apoptosis to evade chemotherapy-induced cell death.

Finally, we also have several projects using the facile genetics of Drosophila melanogaster to further understand links between metabolism and cell death and also the ways in which mitochondrial dynamics are linked to apoptotic pathways.

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