Student Theses and Dissertations

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RU Laboratory

Cross Fred Laboratory


Cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) are at the heart of the cell cycle. Throughout the cycle, these complexes modify many proteins, changing various aspects of their regulation (stability, localization, etc.). As cells exit mitosis, the CDK that has driven many of the cell cycle processes is inhibited and degraded, allowing many of the kinase substrates to return to their unphosphorylated state. This assures that each subsequent cell cycle is begun in the same naïve state, again ready for CDK-dependent regulation. The studies in this thesis focus on two mechanisms by which this restoration is accomplished in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae: (1) a transcriptional program that transcribes many of the genes required for physically dividing the mother and daughter cells and beginning the next round of cell division and (2) a phosphatase that specifically removes the phosphates from sites modified by CDK during exit from mitosis. Two transcription factors, Swi5 and Ace2, transcribe many of the genes required for physically dividing the mother and daughter cells and beginning the next round of cell division. Previously our lab has shown that locking mitotic cyclin levels, by inducing transcription of an undegradable form of the protein, causes dose-dependent delays in different cell cycle events. The first chapter addresses the contribution of the transcriptional program to this phenomenon. Interestingly, in these cells where mitotic cyclin levels were sustained, deletion of the transcription factor Swi5 increases the mitotic cyclin inhibition, specifically as it relates to budding and cytokinesis. Importantly, when phosphorylated by CDK, Swi5 is excluded from the nucleus, so in the second chapter, we investigate its localization when mitotic cyclin levels are locked. Swi5 still enters the nucleus. In fact in some cells, Swi5 enters the nucleus several times before the cell cycle advances. Given previous studies from our lab showing that the release of Cdc14 phosphatase also oscillates under these conditions, the reentry of Swi5 may support a model that a kinase/phosphatase balance allows cell cycle progression in these cells. All this suggests that Swi5 promotes the transcription of genes important for promoting cytokinesis and budding despite high mitotic cyclin levels. In the third chapter, we begin to assess the contribution of specific targets of the mitotic exit transcriptional program to the mitotic cyclin-dependent regulation of specific cell cycle events. Finally, Cdc14, a phosphatase that removes the phosphate groups added by CDKs, is sequestered for most of the cell cycle but released from the nucleolus during the end of mitosis. In the fourth chapter, we examine the physiological relevance of these dephosphorylation events on novel targets of the Cdc14 phosphatase.


A thesis presented to the faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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