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1.  Gene dosage effect of WEE1 on growth and morphogenesis from arabidopsis hypocotyl explants 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(8):1631-1639.
Background and Aims
How plant cell-cycle genes interface with development is unclear. Preliminary evidence from our laboratory suggested that over-expression of the cell cycle checkpoint gene, WEE1, repressed growth and development. Here the hypothesis is tested that the level of WEE1 has a dosage effect on growth and development in Arabidospis thaliana. To do this, a comparison was made of the development of gain- and loss-of-function WEE1 arabidopsis lines both in vivo and in vitro.
Hypocotyl explants from an over-expressing Arath;WEE1 line (WEE1oe), two T-DNA insertion lines (wee1-1 and wee1-4) and wild type (WT) were cultured on two-way combinations of kinetin and naphthyl acetic acid. Root growth and meristematic cell size were also examined.
Key Results
Quantitative data indicated a repressive effect in WEE1oe and a significant increase in morphogenetic capacity in the two T-DNA insertion lines compared with WT. Compared with WT, WEE1oe seedlings exhibited a slower cell-doubling time in the root apical meristem and a shortened primary root, with fewer laterals, whereas there were no consistent differences in the insertion lines compared with WT. However, significantly fewer adventitious roots were recorded for WEE1oe and significantly more for the insertion mutant wee1-1. Compared with WT there was a significant increase in meristem cell size in WEE1oe for all three ground tissues but for wee1-1 only cortical cell size was reduced.
There is a gene dosage effect of WEE1 on morphogenesis from hypocotyls both in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3503502  PMID: 23065633
Arabidopsis thaliana; cell cycle; development; growth; hypocotyl; tissue culture; WEE1
2.  A commentary on the G2/M transition of the plant cell cycle 
Annals of Botany  2011;107(7):1065-1070.
The complex events of mitosis rely on precise timing and on immaculate preparation for their success, but the G2/M transition in the plant cell cycle is currently steeped in controversy and alternative models.
In this brief review, the regulation of the G2/M transition in plants is commented on. The extent to which the G2/M transition is phosphoregulated by WEE1 kinase and CDC25 phosphatase, as exemplified in yeasts and animals, is discussed together with an alternative model that excludes these proteins from this transition. Arabidopsis T-DNA insertional lines for WEE1 and CDC25 that develop normally prompted the latter model. An argument is then presented that environmental stress is the norm for higher plants in temperate conditions. If so, the repressive role that WEE1 has under checkpoint conditions might be part of the normal cell cycle for many proliferative plant cells. Arabidopsis CDC25 can function as either a phosphatase or an arsenate reductase and recent evidence suggests that cdc25 knockouts are hypersensitive to hydroxyurea, a drug that induces the DNA-replication checkpoint. That other data show a null response of these knockouts to hydroxyurea leads to an airing of the controversy surrounding the enigmatic plant CDC25 at the G2/M transition.
PMCID: PMC3091806  PMID: 21558458
Arabidopsis thaliana; cell-cycle checkpoints; CDC25 phosphatase; cyclin-dependent kinases; G2/M; WEE1 kinase
3.  Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Cdc2 Is Required for the Replication Checkpoint in Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(7):3782-3787.
The DNA replication checkpoint inhibits mitosis in cells that are unable to replicate their DNA, as when nucleotide biosynthesis is inhibited by hydroxyurea. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, genetic evidence suggests that this checkpoint involves the inhibition of Cdc2 activity through the phosphorylation of tyrosine-15. On the contrary, a recent biochemical study indicated that Cdc2 is in an activated state during a replication checkpoint, suggesting that phosphorylation of Cdc2 on tyrosine-15 is not part of the replication checkpoint mechanism. We have undertaken biochemical and genetic studies to resolve this controversy. We report that the DNA replication checkpoint in S. pombe is abrogated in cells that carry the allele cdc2-Y15F, expressing an unphosphorylatable form of Cdc2. Furthermore, Cdc2 isolated from replication checkpoint-arrested cells can be activated in vitro by Cdc25, the tyrosine phosphatase responsible for dephosphorylating Cdc2 in vivo, to the same extent as Cdc2 isolated from cdc25ts-blocked cells, indicating that hydroxyurea treatment causes Cdc2 activity to be maintained at a low level that is insufficient to induce mitosis. These studies show that inhibitory tyrosine-15 phosphorylation of Cdc2 is essential for the DNA replication checkpoint and suggests that Cdc25, and/or one or both of Wee1 and Mik1, the tyrosine kinases that phosphorylate Cdc2, are regulated by the replication checkpoint.
PMCID: PMC108961  PMID: 9632761
4.  Changes in Regulatory Phosphorylation of Cdc25C Ser287 and Wee1 Ser549 during Normal Cell Cycle Progression and Checkpoint Arrests 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(12):5749-5760.
Entry into mitosis is catalyzed by cdc2 kinase. Previous work identified the cdc2-activating phosphatase cdc25C and the cdc2-inhibitory kinase wee1 as targets of the incomplete replication-induced kinase Chk1. Further work led to the model that checkpoint kinases block mitotic entry by inhibiting cdc25C through phosphorylation on Ser287 and activating wee1 through phosphorylation on Ser549. However, almost all conclusions underlying this idea were drawn from work using recombinant proteins. Here, we report that in the early Xenopus egg cell cycles, phosphorylation of endogenous cdc25C Ser287 is normally high during interphase and shows no obvious increase after checkpoint activation. By contrast, endogenous wee1 Ser549 phosphorylation is low during interphase and increases after activation of either the DNA damage or replication checkpoints; this is accompanied by a slight increase in wee1 kinase activity. Blocking mitotic entry by adding the catalytic subunit of PKA also results in increased wee1 Ser549 phosphorylation and maintenance of cdc25C Ser287 phosphorylation. These results argue that in response to checkpoint activation, endogenous wee1 is indeed a critical responder that functions by repressing the cdc2-cdc25C positive feedback loop. Surprisingly, endogenous wee1 Ser549 phosphorylation is highest during mitosis just after the peak of cdc2 activity. Treatments that block inactivation of cdc2 result in further increases in wee1 Ser549 phosphorylation, suggesting a previously unsuspected role for wee1 in mitosis.
PMCID: PMC1289418  PMID: 16195348
5.  The Wee1 protein kinase regulates T14 phosphorylation of fission yeast Cdc2. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1995;6(4):371-385.
The Cdc2 protein kinase is a key regulator of the G1-S and G2-M cell cycle transitions in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The activation of Cdc2 at the G2-M transition is triggered by dephosphorylation at a conserved tyrosine residue Y15. The level of Y15 phosphorylation is controlled by the Wee1 and Mik1 protein kinases acting in opposition to the Cdc25 protein phosphatase. Here, we demonstrate that Wee1 overexpression leads to a high stoichiometry of phosphorylation at a previously undetected site in S. pombe Cdc2, T14. T14 phosphorylation was also detected in certain cell cycle mutants blocked in progression through S phase, indicating that T14 phosphorylation might normally occur at low stoichiometry during DNA replication or early G2. Strains in which the chromosomal copy of cdc2 was replaced with either a T14A or a T14S mutant allele were generated and the phenotypes of these strains are consistent with T14 phosphorylation playing an inhibitory role in the activation of Cdc2 as it does in higher eukaryotes. We have also obtained evidence that Wee1 but not Mik1 or Chk1 is required for phosphorylation at this site, that the Mik1 and Chk1 protein kinases are unable to drive T14 phosphorylation in vivo, that residue 14 phosphorylation requires previous phosphorylation at Y15, and that the T14A mutant, unlike Y15F, is recessive to wild-type Cdc2 activity. Finally, the normal duration of G2 delay after irradiation or hydroxyurea treatment in a T14A mutant strain indicates that T14 phosphorylation is not required for the DNA damage or replication checkpoint controls.
PMCID: PMC301198  PMID: 7626804
6.  Multiple protein kinases influence the redistribution of fission yeast Clp1/Cdc14 phosphatase upon genotoxic stress 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(20):4118-4128.
Nucleolar release of Cdc14 phosphatases allows them access to substrates. Multiple kinases directly affect the Clp1/Cdc14 phosphostate and the nucleolar to nucleoplasmic transition of Clp1 in fission yeast upon genotoxic stress. In addition, Clp1 regulates its own nucleolar sequestration by antagonizing a subset of these networks.
The Cdc14 phosphatase family antagonizes Cdk1 phosphorylation and is important for mitotic exit. To access their substrates, Cdc14 phosphatases are released from nucleolar sequestration during mitosis. Clp1/Flp1, the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cdc14 orthologue, and Cdc14B, a mammalian orthologue, also exit the nucleolus during interphase upon DNA replication stress or damage, respectively, implicating Cdc14 phosphatases in the response to genotoxic insults. However, a mechanistic understanding of Cdc14 phosphatase nucleolar release under these conditions is incomplete. We show here that relocalization of Clp1 during genotoxic stress is governed by complex phosphoregulation. Specifically, the Rad3 checkpoint effector kinases Cds1 and/or Chk1, the cell wall integrity mitogen-activated protein kinase Pmk1, and the cell cycle kinase Cdk1 directly phosphorylate Clp1 to promote genotoxic stress–induced nucleoplasmic accumulation. However, Cds1 and/or Chk1 phosphorylate RxxS sites preferentially upon hydroxyurea treatment, whereas Pmk1 and Cdk1 preferentially phosphorylate Clp1 TP sites upon H2O2 treatment. Abolishing both Clp1 RxxS and TP phosphosites eliminates any genotoxic stress–induced redistribution. Reciprocally, preventing dephosphorylation of Clp1 TP sites shifts the distribution of the enzyme to the nucleoplasm constitutively. This work advances our understanding of pathways influencing Clp1 localization and may provide insight into mechanisms controlling Cdc14B phosphatases in higher eukaryotes.
PMCID: PMC3469525  PMID: 22918952
7.  Discovery of gene expression-based pharmacodynamic biomarker for a p53 context-specific anti-tumor drug Wee1 inhibitor 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:34.
Wee1 is a tyrosine kinase regulating S-G2 cell cycle transition through the inactivating phosphorylation of CDC2. The inhibition of Wee1 kinase by a selective small molecule inhibitor significantly enhances the anti-tumor efficacy of DNA damaging agents, specifically in p53 negative tumors by abrogating S-G2 checkpoints, while normal cells with wild-type p53 are not severely damaged due to the intact function of the G1 checkpoint mediated by p53. Since the measurement of mRNA expression requires a very small amount of biopsy tissue and is highly quantitative, the development of a pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarker leveraging mRNA expression is eagerly anticipated in order to estimate target engagement of anti-cancer agents.
In order to find the Wee1 inhibition signature, mRNA expression profiling was first performed in both p53 positive and negative cancer cell lines treated with gemcitabine and a Wee1 inhibitor, MK-1775. We next carried out mRNA expression profiling of skin samples derived from xenograft models treated with the Wee1 inhibitor to identify a Wee1 inhibitor-regulatory gene set. Then, the genes that were commonly modulated in both cancer cell lines and rat skin samples were extracted as a Wee1 inhibition signature that could potentially be used as a PD biomarker independent of p53 status. The expression of the Wee1 inhibition signature was found to be regulated in a dose-dependent manner by the Wee1 inhibitor, and was significantly correlated with the inhibition level of a direct substrate, phosphorylated-CDC2. Individual genes in this Wee1 inhibition signature are known to regulate S-G2 cell cycle progression or checkpoints, which is consistent with the mode-of-action of the Wee1 inhibitor.
We report here the identification of an mRNA gene signature that was specifically changed by gemcitabine and Wee1 inhibitor combination treatment by molecular profiling. Given the common regulation of expression in both xenograft tumors and animal skin samples, the data suggest that the Wee1 inhibition gene signature might be utilized as a quantitative PD biomarker in both tumors and surrogate tissues, such as skin and hair follicles, in human clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2700070  PMID: 19500427
8.  Cdc25 Inhibited In Vivo and In Vitro by Checkpoint Kinases Cds1 and Chk1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1999;10(4):833-845.
In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the protein kinase Cds1 is activated by the S–M replication checkpoint that prevents mitosis when DNA is incompletely replicated. Cds1 is proposed to regulate Wee1 and Mik1, two tyrosine kinases that inhibit the mitotic kinase Cdc2. Here, we present evidence from in vivo and in vitro studies, which indicates that Cds1 also inhibits Cdc25, the phosphatase that activates Cdc2. In an in vivo assay that measures the rate at which Cdc25 catalyzes mitosis, Cds1 contributed to a mitotic delay imposed by the S–M replication checkpoint. Cds1 also inhibited Cdc25-dependent activation of Cdc2 in vitro. Chk1, a protein kinase that is required for the G2–M damage checkpoint that prevents mitosis while DNA is being repaired, also inhibited Cdc25 in the in vitro assay. In vitro, Cds1 and Chk1 phosphorylated Cdc25 predominantly on serine-99. The Cdc25 alanine-99 mutation partially impaired the S–M replication and G2–M damage checkpoints in vivo. Thus, Cds1 and Chk1 seem to act in different checkpoint responses to regulate Cdc25 by similar mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC25205  PMID: 10198041
9.  In vivo roles of CDC25 phosphatases: Biological insight into the anti-cancer therapeutic targets 
CDC25 phosphatases are not only rate-limiting activators of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) but also important targets of the CHK1/CHK2-mediated checkpoint pathway. Each isoform of the mammalian CDC25 famiy seems to exert unique biological functions. CDC25A is a critical regulator for both G1-S and G2-M transitions and essential for embryonic cell proliferation after the blastocyst stage. CDC25B is dispensable for embryogenesis but required for meiotic progression of oocytes in a manner analogous to Drosophila Twine or C. elegans cdc-25.1. Moreover, CDC25A and CDC25B appear to regulate different events or stages of mitosis. CDC25B may mediate the activation of CDK1/Cyclin B at the centrosome during prophase, while CDC25A may be required for the subsequent full activation of nuclear CDK1/Cyclin B. CDC25C is dispensable for both mitotic and meiotic divisions, although it is highly regulated during the processes. Excessive levels of CDC25A and CDC25B are often observed in various human cancer tissues. Deregulated expression of these phosphatases allows cells to overcome DNA damage-induced checkpoint, leading to genomic instability. Studies using mouse models demonstrated that deregulated expression of CDC25A significantly promotes RAS- or NEU-induced mammary tumor development with chromosomal aberrations, whereas decreased CDC25A expression in heterozygous knockout mice delays tumorigenesis. These biological properties of CDC25 phosphatases provide significant insight into the pathobiology of cancer and scientific foundation for anti-CDC25 therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC2753225  PMID: 19075565
cell cycle; mitosis; meiosis; development; checkpoint; transgenic mice; knockout mice
10.  Separation of phenotypes in mutant alleles of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe cell-cycle checkpoint gene rad1+. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1995;6(12):1793-1805.
The Schizosaccharomyces pombe rad1+ gene is involved in the G2 DNA damage cell-cycle checkpoint and in coupling mitosis to completed DNA replication. It is also required for viability when the cdc17 (DNA ligase) or wee1 proteins are inactivated. We have introduced mutations into the coding regions of rad1+ by site-directed mutagenesis. The effects of these mutations on the DNA damage and DNA replication checkpoints have been analyzed, as well as their associated phenotypes in a cdc17-K42 or a wee1-50 background. For all alleles, the resistance to radiation or hydroxyurea correlates well with the degree of functioning of checkpoint pathways activated by these treatments. One mutation, rad1-S3, completely abolishes the DNA replication checkpoint while partially retaining the DNA damage checkpoint. As single mutants, the rad1-S1, rad1-S2, rad1-S5, and rad1-S6 alleles have a wild-type phenotype with respect to radiation sensitivity and checkpoint functions; however, like the rad1 null allele, the rad1-S1 and rad1-S2 alleles exhibit synthetic lethality at the restrictive temperature with the cdc17-K42 or the wee1-50 mutation. The rad1-S5 and rad1-S6 alleles allow growth at higher temperatures in a cdc17-K42 or wee1-50 background than does wild-type rad1+, and thus behave like "superalleles." In most cases both chromosomal and multi-copy episomal mutant alleles have been investigated, and the agreement between these two states is very good. We provide evidence that the functions of rad1 can be dissociated into three groups by specific mutations. Models for the action of these rad1 alleles are discussed. In addition, a putative negative regulatory domain of rad1 is identified.
PMCID: PMC301333  PMID: 8590806
11.  Methods to create a stringent selection system for mammalian cell lines 
Cytotechnology  2011;63(4):371-384.
The efficient establishment of high protein producing recombinant mammalian cell lines is facilitated by the use of a stringent selection system. Here, we describe two methods to create a stringent selection system based on the Zeocin resistance marker. First, we cloned increasingly longer stretches of DNA, encoding a range of 8–131 amino acids immediately upstream of the Zeocin selection marker gene. The DNA stretches were separated from the open reading frame of the selection marker gene by a stopcodon. The idea behind this was that the translation machinery will first translate the small peptide, stop and then restart at the AUG of the Zeocin marker. This process, however, will become less efficient with increasingly longer stretches of DNA upstream of the Zeocin marker that has to be translated first. This would result in lower levels of the Zeocin selection marker protein and thus a higher selection stringency of the system. Secondly, we performed a genetic screen to identify PCR induced mutations in the Zeocin selection protein that functionally impair the selection marker protein. Both the insertion of increasingly longer peptides and several Zeocin selection protein mutants resulted in a decreasing number of stably transfected colonies that concomitantly displayed higher protein expression levels. When the Zeocin mutants were combined with very short small peptides (8–14 amino acids long), this created a flexible, high stringency selection system. The system allows the rapid establishment of few, but high protein producing mammalian cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3140837  PMID: 21509612
Selection marker; Zeocin; Mammalian cells; Mutant selection markers; Error Prone PCR; Recombinant gene expression
12.  Methods to create a stringent selection system for mammalian cell lines 
Cytotechnology  2011;63(4):371-384.
The efficient establishment of high protein producing recombinant mammalian cell lines is facilitated by the use of a stringent selection system. Here, we describe two methods to create a stringent selection system based on the Zeocin resistance marker. First, we cloned increasingly longer stretches of DNA, encoding a range of 8–131 amino acids immediately upstream of the Zeocin selection marker gene. The DNA stretches were separated from the open reading frame of the selection marker gene by a stopcodon. The idea behind this was that the translation machinery will first translate the small peptide, stop and then restart at the AUG of the Zeocin marker. This process, however, will become less efficient with increasingly longer stretches of DNA upstream of the Zeocin marker that has to be translated first. This would result in lower levels of the Zeocin selection marker protein and thus a higher selection stringency of the system. Secondly, we performed a genetic screen to identify PCR induced mutations in the Zeocin selection protein that functionally impair the selection marker protein. Both the insertion of increasingly longer peptides and several Zeocin selection protein mutants resulted in a decreasing number of stably transfected colonies that concomitantly displayed higher protein expression levels. When the Zeocin mutants were combined with very short small peptides (8–14 amino acids long), this created a flexible, high stringency selection system. The system allows the rapid establishment of few, but high protein producing mammalian cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3140837  PMID: 21509612
Selection marker; Zeocin; Mammalian cells; Mutant selection markers; Error Prone PCR; Recombinant gene expression
13.  Cdc25 and Wee1: analogous opposites? 
Cell Division  2007;2:12.
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.
PMCID: PMC1868713  PMID: 17480229
14.  CDC5 Inhibits the Hyperphosphorylation of the Checkpoint Kinase Rad53, Leading to Checkpoint Adaptation 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(1):e1000286.
The mechanistic role of the yeast kinase CDC5, in allowing cells to adapt to the presence of irreparable DNA damage and continue to divide, is revealed.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae polo-like kinase Cdc5 promotes adaptation to the DNA damage checkpoint, in addition to its numerous roles in mitotic progression. The process of adaptation occurs when cells are presented with persistent or irreparable DNA damage and escape the cell-cycle arrest imposed by the DNA damage checkpoint. However, the precise mechanism of adaptation remains unknown. We report here that CDC5 is dose-dependent for adaptation and that its overexpression promotes faster adaptation, indicating that high levels of Cdc5 modulate the ability of the checkpoint to inhibit the downstream cell-cycle machinery. To pinpoint the step in the checkpoint pathway at which Cdc5 acts, we overexpressed CDC5 from the GAL1 promoter in damaged cells and examined key steps in checkpoint activation individually. Cdc5 overproduction appeared to have little effect on the early steps leading to Rad53 activation. The checkpoint sensors, Ddc1 (a member of the 9-1-1 complex) and Ddc2 (a member of the Ddc2/Mec1 complex), properly localized to damage sites. Mec1 appeared to be active, since the Rad9 adaptor retained its Mec1 phosphorylation. Moreover, the damage-induced interaction between phosphorylated Rad9 and Rad53 remained intact. In contrast, Rad53 hyperphosphorylation was significantly reduced, consistent with the observation that cell-cycle arrest is lost during adaptation. Thus, we conclude Cdc5 acts to attenuate the DNA damage checkpoint through loss of Rad53 hyperphosphorylation to allow cells to adapt to DNA damage. Polo-like kinase homologs have been shown to inhibit the ability of Claspin to facilitate the activation of downstream checkpoint kinases, suggesting that this function is conserved in vertebrates.
Author Summary
Cellular surveillance mechanisms, termed checkpoints, have evolved to recognize the presence of DNA damage, halt cell division, and promote repair. The purpose of these checkpoints is to prevent the next generation of cells from inheriting a damaged genome. However, after futile attempts at repair over several hours of growth arrest, yeast cells eventually adapt and continue with cell division despite the presence of persistent DNA lesions. This process of adaptation employs CDC5, a kinase that also has essential roles in promoting cell division in the absence of DNA damage. We found that increasing levels of Cdc5 promote adaptation by suppressing the hyperphosphorylation of the checkpoint kinase Rad53, which in turn suppresses the DNA damage checkpoint and relieves cell division arrest. Intriguingly, overexpression of PLK1, the human homolog of CDC5, has been reported in various tumor types and has been linked to poor prognosis. Therefore, understanding the mechanism of adaptation in yeast may provide valuable insight into the role of PLK1 overexpression in tumor progression. Two related papers, published in PLoS Biology (van Vugt et al., doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000287) and PLoS Genetics (Donnianni et al., doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000763), similarly investigate the phenomenon of checkpoint adaptation.
PMCID: PMC2811153  PMID: 20126259
15.  Unscheduled expression of CDC25B in S-phase leads to replicative stress and DNA damage 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:29.
CDC25B phosphatase is a cell cycle regulator that plays a critical role in checkpoint control. Up-regulation of CDC25B expression has been documented in a variety of human cancers, however, the relationships with the alteration of the molecular mechanisms that lead to oncogenesis still remain unclear. To address this issue we have investigated, in model cell lines, the consequences of unscheduled and elevated CDC25B levels.
We report that increased CDC25B expression leads to DNA damage in the absence of genotoxic treatment. H2AX phosphorylation is detected in S-phase cells and requires active replication. We also report that CDC25B expression impairs DNA replication and results in an increased recruitment of the CDC45 replication factor onto chromatin. Finally, we observed chromosomal aberrations that are also enhanced upon CDC25B expression.
Overall, our results demonstrate that a moderate and unscheduled increase in CDC25B level, as observed in a number of human tumours, is sufficient to overcome the S-phase checkpoint efficiency thus leading to replicative stress and genomic instability.
PMCID: PMC2825247  PMID: 20128929
16.  Normal Cell Cycle and Checkpoint Responses in Mice and Cells Lacking Cdc25B and Cdc25C Protein Phosphatases 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(7):2853-2860.
The Cdc25 family of protein phosphatases positively regulates cell division by activating cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs). In humans and rodents, there are three Cdc25 family members—denoted Cdc25A, Cdc25B, and Cdc25C—that can be distinguished based on their subcellular compartmentalizations, their abundances and/or activities throughout the cell cycle, the CDKs that they target for activation, and whether they are overexpressed in human cancers. In addition, murine forms of Cdc25 exhibit distinct patterns of expression throughout development and in adult tissues. These properties suggest that individual Cdc25 family members contribute distinct biological functions in embryonic and adult cell cycles of mammals. Interestingly, mice with Cdc25C disrupted are healthy, and cells derived from these mice exhibit normal cell cycles and checkpoint responses. Cdc25B−/− mice are also generally normal (although females are sterile), and cells derived from Cdc25B−/− mice have normal cell cycles. Here we report that mice lacking both Cdc25B and Cdc25C are obtained at the expected Mendelian ratios, indicating that Cdc25B and Cdc25C are not required for mouse development or mitotic entry. Furthermore, cell cycles, DNA damage responses, and Cdc25A regulation are normal in cells lacking Cdc25B and Cdc25C. These findings indicate that Cdc25A, or possibly other phosphatases, is able to functionally compensate for the loss of Cdc25B and Cdc25C in mice.
PMCID: PMC1061644  PMID: 15767688
17.  Xenopus Cdc7 executes its essential function early in S phase and is counteracted by checkpoint-regulated protein phosphatase 1 
Open Biology  2014;4(1):130138.
The initiation of DNA replication requires two protein kinases: cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) and Cdc7. Although S phase Cdk activity has been intensively studied, relatively little is known about how Cdc7 regulates progression through S phase. We have used a Cdc7 inhibitor, PHA-767491, to dissect the role of Cdc7 in Xenopus egg extracts. We show that hyperphosphorylation of mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins by Cdc7 is required for the initiation, but not for the elongation, of replication forks. Unlike Cdks, we demonstrate that Cdc7 executes its essential functions by phosphorylating MCM proteins at virtually all replication origins early in S phase and is not limiting for progression through the Xenopus replication timing programme. We demonstrate that protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is recruited to chromatin and rapidly reverses Cdc7-mediated MCM hyperphosphorylation. Checkpoint kinases induced by DNA damage or replication inhibition promote the association of PP1 with chromatin and increase the rate of MCM dephosphorylation, thereby counteracting the previously completed Cdc7 functions and inhibiting replication initiation. This novel mechanism for regulating Cdc7 function provides an explanation for previous contradictory results concerning the control of Cdc7 by checkpoint kinases and has implications for the use of Cdc7 inhibitors as anti-cancer agents.
PMCID: PMC3909274  PMID: 24403013
Cdc7; Xenopus; DNA replication; PP1; PHA-767491
18.  DNA Damage and Replication Checkpoints in Fission Yeast Require Nuclear Exclusion of the Cdc25 Phosphatase via 14-3-3 Binding 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(11):7410-7419.
In fission yeast as well as in higher eukaryotic organisms, entry into mitosis is delayed in cells containing damaged or unreplicated DNA. This is accomplished in part by maintaining the Cdc25 phosphatase in a phosphorylated form that binds 14-3-3 proteins. In this study, we generated a mutant of fission yeast Cdc25 that is severely impaired in its ability to bind 14-3-3 proteins. Loss of both the DNA damage and replication checkpoints was observed in fission yeast cells expressing the 14-3-3 binding mutant. These findings indicate that 14-3-3 binding to Cdc25 is required for fission yeast cells to arrest their cell cycle in response to DNA damage and replication blocks. Furthermore, the 14-3-3 binding mutant localized almost exclusively to the nucleus, unlike wild-type Cdc25, which localized to both the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Nuclear accumulation of wild-type Cdc25 was observed when fission yeast cells were treated with leptomycin B, indicating that Cdc25 is actively exported from the nucleus. Nuclear exclusion of wild-type Cdc25 was observed upon overproduction of Rad 24, one of the two fission yeast 14-3-3 proteins, indicating that one function of Rad 24 is to keep Cdc25 out of the nucleus. In support of this conclusion, Rad 24 overproduction did not alter the nuclear location of the 14-3-3 binding mutant. These results indicate that 14-3-3 binding contributes to the nuclear exclusion of Cdc25 and that the nuclear exclusion of Cdc25 is required for a normal checkpoint response to both damaged and unreplicated DNA.
PMCID: PMC84734  PMID: 10523629
19.  Caffeine stabilizes Cdc25 independently of Rad3 in S chizosaccharomyces pombe contributing to checkpoint override 
Molecular Microbiology  2014;92(4):777-796.
Cdc25 is required for Cdc2 dephosphorylation and is thus essential for cell cycle progression. Checkpoint activation requires dual inhibition of Cdc25 and Cdc2 in a Rad3-dependent manner. Caffeine is believed to override activation of the replication and DNA damage checkpoints by inhibiting Rad3-related proteins in both S chizosaccharomyces pombe and mammalian cells. In this study, we have investigated the impact of caffeine on Cdc25 stability, cell cycle progression and checkpoint override. Caffeine induced Cdc25 accumulation in S . pombe independently of Rad3. Caffeine delayed cell cycle progression under normal conditions but advanced mitosis in cells treated with replication inhibitors and DNA-damaging agents. In the absence of Cdc25, caffeine inhibited cell cycle progression even in the presence of hydroxyurea or phleomycin. Caffeine induces Cdc25 accumulation in S . pombe by suppressing its degradation independently of Rad3. The induction of Cdc25 accumulation was not associated with accelerated progression through mitosis, but rather with delayed progression through cytokinesis. Caffeine-induced Cdc25 accumulation appears to underlie its ability to override cell cycle checkpoints. The impact of Cdc25 accumulation on cell cycle progression is attenuated by Srk1 and Mad2. Together our findings suggest that caffeine overrides checkpoint enforcement by inducing the inappropriate nuclear localization of Cdc25.
PMCID: PMC4235345  PMID: 24666325
20.  Analysis of Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerases in Arabidopsis Telomere Biology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88872.
Maintaining the length of the telomere tract at chromosome ends is a complex process vital to normal cell division. Telomere length is controlled through the action of telomerase as well as a cadre of telomere-associated proteins that facilitate replication of the chromosome end and protect it from eliciting a DNA damage response. In vertebrates, multiple poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) have been implicated in the regulation of telomere length, telomerase activity and chromosome end protection. Here we investigate the role of PARPs in plant telomere biology. We analyzed Arabidopsis thaliana mutants null for PARP1 and PARP2 as well as plants treated with the PARP competitive inhibitor 3-AB. Plants deficient in PARP were hypersensitive to genotoxic stress, and expression of PARP1 and PARP2 mRNA was elevated in response to MMS or zeocin treatment or by the loss of telomerase. Additionally, PARP1 mRNA was induced in parp2 mutants, and conversely, PARP2 mRNA was induced in parp1 mutants. PARP3 mRNA, by contrast, was elevated in both parp1 and parp2 mutants, but not in seedlings treated with 3-AB or zeocin. PARP mutants and 3-AB treated plants displayed robust telomerase activity, no significant changes in telomere length, and no end-to-end chromosome fusions. Although there remains a possibility that PARPs play a role in Arabidopsis telomere biology, these findings argue that the contribution is a minor one.
PMCID: PMC3923816  PMID: 24551184
21.  Nitrosative stress suppresses checkpoint activation after DNA synthesis inhibition 
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)  2009;8(2):299-305.
DNA synthesis is promoted by the dephosphorylation and activation of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2) complexes by Cdc25A. Nitrosative stress suppresses Cdk2 dephosphorylation by Cdc25A in vitro and inhibits Cdc25A protein translation in cells, but the effects on S-phase progression remain unexamined. Herein we report that nitrosative stress catalyzed by inducible nitric oxide (•NO) synthase (iNOS) or the chemical nitrosant S-nitrosocysteine ethyl ester (SNCEE) rapidly inhibited DNA synthesis concomitant with Cdc25A loss. Surprisingly, this inhibition of DNA synthesis was refractory to ectopic expression of Cdc25A or a Cdc25-independent Cdk2 mutant. Nitrosative stress inhibited DNA synthesis without activating checkpoint signaling, thus distinguishing it from S-phase arrest mediated by other reactive •NO-derived species. The apparent lack of checkpoint activation was due to an active suppression because accumulation of pSer345-Chk1, pThr68-Chk2, and γH2AX was inhibited by nitrosative stress in cells exposed to DNA damage or replication inhibitors. We speculate that failure to activate the S-phase checkpoint in precancerous cells undergoing nitrosative stress may elevate the risk of transmitting damaged genomes to daughter cells upon cell cycle reentry.
PMCID: PMC2752830  PMID: 19158509
Nitrosative stress; checkpoint; DNA synthesis; replication; Cdc25A; nitric oxide; Chk1; Chk2; DNA damage
22.  Cdc55p, the B-type regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A, has multiple functions in mitosis and is required for the kinetochore/spindle checkpoint in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(2):620-626.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, like most eucaryotic cells, can prevent the onset of anaphase until chromosomes are properly aligned on the mitotic spindle. We determined that Cdc55p (regulatory B subunit of protein phosphatase 2A [PP2A]) is required for the kinetochore/spindle checkpoint regulatory pathway in yeast. ctf13 cdc55 double mutants could not maintain a ctf13-induced mitotic delay, as determined by antitubulin staining and levels of histone H1 kinase activity. In addition, cdc55::LEU2 mutants and tpd3::LEU2 mutants (regulatory A subunit of PP2A) were nocodazole sensitive and exhibited the phenotypes of previously identified kinetochore/spindle checkpoint mutants. Inactivating CDC55 did not simply bypass the arrest that results from inhibiting ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis because cdc16-1 cdc55::LEU2 and cdc23-1 cdc55::LEU2 double mutants arrested normally at elevated temperatures. CDC55 is specific for the kinetochore/spindle checkpoint because cdc55 mutants showed normal sensitivity to gamma radiation and hydroxyurea. The conditional lethality and the abnormal cellular morphogenesis of cdc55::LEU2 were suppressed by cdc28F19, suggesting that the cdc55 phenotypes are dependent on the phosphorylation state of Cdc28p. In contrast, the nocodazole sensitivity of cdc55::LEU2 was not suppressed by cdc28F19. Therefore, the mitotic checkpoint activity of CDC55 (and TPD3) is independent of regulated phosphorylation of Cdc28p. Finally, cdc55::LEU2 suppresses the temperature sensitivity of cdc20-1, suggesting additional roles for CDC55 in mitosis.
PMCID: PMC231787  PMID: 9001215
23.  Cds1 Controls the Release of Cdc14-like Phosphatase Flp1 from the Nucleolus to Drive Full Activation of the Checkpoint Response to Replication Stress in Fission Yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(6):2488-2499.
The Cdc14p-like phosphatase Flp1p (also known as Clp1p) is regulated by cell cycle-dependent changes in its subcellular localization. Flp1p is restricted to the nucleolus and spindle pole body until prophase, when it is dispersed throughout the nucleus, mitotic spindle, and medial ring. Once released, Flp1p antagonizes Cdc2p/cyclin activity by reverting Cdc2p-phosphorylation sites on Cdc25p. On replication stress, ataxia-telangiectasia mutated/ATM/Rad3-related kinase Rad3p activates Cds1p, which phosphorylates key proteins ensuring the stability of stalled DNA replication forks. Here, we show that replication stress induces changes in the subcellular localization of Flp1p in a checkpoint-dependent manner. Active Cds1p checkpoint kinase is required to release Flp1p into the nucleus. Consistently, a Flp1p mutant (flp1-9A) lacking all potential Cds1p phosphorylation sites fails to relocate in response to replication blocks and, similarly to cells lacking flp1 (Δflp1), presents defects in checkpoint response to replication stress. Δflp1 cells accumulate reduced levels of a less active Cds1p kinase in hydroxyurea (HU), indicating that nuclear Flp1p regulates Cds1p full activation. Consistently, Δflp1 and flp1-9A have an increased percentage of Rad22p-recombination foci during HU treatment. Together, our data show that by releasing Flp1p into the nucleus Cds1p checkpoint kinase modulates its own full activation during replication stress.
PMCID: PMC2397296  PMID: 18385517
24.  Accelerated elimination of ultraviolet-induced DNA damage through apoptosis in CDC25A-deficient skin 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(9):1754-1761.
Cell division cycle 25A (CDC25A) is a dual-specificity phosphatase that removes inhibitory phosphates from cyclin-dependent kinases, allowing cell-cycle progression. Activation of cell-cycle checkpoints following DNA damage results in the degradation of CDC25A, leading to cell-cycle arrest. Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, which causes most skin cancer, results in both DNA damage and CDC25A degradation. We hypothesized that ablation of CDC25A in the skin would increase cell-cycle arrest following UV irradiation, allowing for improved repair of DNA damage and decreased tumorigenesis. Cdc25a fl/fl /Krt14-Cre recombinase mice, with decreased CDC25A in the epithelium of the skin, were generated and exposed to UV. UV-induced DNA damage, in the form of cyclopyrimidine dimers and 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine adducts, was eliminated earlier from CDC25A-deficient epidermis. Surprisingly, loss of CDC25A did not alter epidermal proliferation or cell cycle after UV exposure. However, the UV-induced apoptotic response was prolonged in CDC25A-deficient skin. Double labeling of cleaved caspase-3 and the DNA damage marker γH2A.X revealed many of the apoptotic cells in UV-exposed Cdc25a mutant skin had high levels of DNA damage. Induction of skin tumors by UV irradiation of Cdc25a mutant and control mice on a skin tumor susceptible to v-ras Ha Tg.AC mouse background revealed UV-induced papillomas in Cdc25a mutants were significantly smaller than in controls in the first 6 weeks following UV exposure, although there was no difference in tumor multiplicity or incidence. Thus, deletion of Cdc25a increased apoptosis and accelerated the elimination of DNA damage following UV but did not substantially alter cell-cycle regulation or tumorigenesis.
Abbreviations:8-oxo-dG8-oxo-deoxyguanosineATRataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-relatedBrdUbromodeoxyuridineCDC25Acell division cycle 25ACDK2cyclin-dependent kinase 2CPDcyclopyrimidineDAPI4ʹ,6-diamidino-2 phenylindoleTBS-TTris-buffered saline Tween 20TUNELterminal dUTP nucleotide end-labelingUVultraviolet
PMCID: PMC3514895  PMID: 22764135
25.  Prophase I arrest and progression to metaphase I in mouse oocytes: comparison of resumption of meiosis and recovery from G2-arrest in somatic cells 
Molecular Human Reproduction  2010;16(9):654-664.
Mammalian oocytes are arrested at prophase I until puberty when luteinizing hormone (LH) induces resumption of meiosis of follicle-enclosed oocytes. Resumption of meiosis is tightly coupled with regulating cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) activity. Prophase I arrest depends on inhibitory phosphorylation of CDK1 and anaphase-promoting complex—(APC–CDH1)-mediated regulation of cyclin B levels. Prophase I arrest is maintained by endogenously produced cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which activates protein kinase A (PKA) that in turn phosphorylates (and activates) the nuclear kinase WEE2. In addition, PKA-mediated phosphorylation of the phosphatase CDC25B results in its cytoplasmic retention. The combined effect maintains low levels of CDK1 activity that are not sufficient to initiate resumption of meiosis. LH triggers synthesis of epidermal growth factor-like factors in mural granulosa cells and leads to reduced cGMP transfer from cumulus cells to oocytes via gap junctions that couple the two cell types. cGMP inhibits oocyte phosphodiesterase 3A (PDE3A) and a decline in oocyte cGMP results in increased PDE3A activity. The ensuing decrease in oocyte cAMP triggers maturation by alleviating the aforementioned phosphorylations of WEE2 and CDC25B. As a direct consequence CDC25B translocates into the nucleus. The resulting activation of CDK1 also promotes extrusion of WEE2 from the nucleus thereby providing a positive amplification mechanism for CDK1 activation. Other kinases, e.g. protein kinase B, Aurora kinase A and polo-like kinase 1, also participate in resumption of meiosis. Mechanisms governing meiotic prophase I arrest and resumption of meiosis share common features with DNA damage-induced mitotic G2-checkpoint arrest and checkpoint recovery, respectively. These common features include CDC14B-dependent activation of APC–CDH1 in prophase I arrested oocytes or G2-arrested somatic cells, and CDC25B-dependent cell cycle resumption in both oocytes and somatic cells.
PMCID: PMC2930517  PMID: 20453035
resumption of meiosis; prophase I arrest; oocyte; G2-checkpoint; checkpoint recovery

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