Evidence that a free-running oscillator drives G1 events in the budding yeast cell cycle.
In yeast and somatic cells, mechanisms ensure cell-cycle events are initiated only when preceding events have been completed. In contrast, interruption of specific cell-cycle processes in early embryonic cells of many organisms does not affect the timing of subsequent events, indicating that cell-cycle events are triggered by a free-running cell-cycle oscillator. Here we present evidence for an independent cell-cycle oscillator in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We observed periodic activation of events normally restricted to the G1 phase of the cell cycle, in cells lacking mitotic cyclin-dependent kinase activities that are essential for cell-cycle progression. As in embryonic cells, G1 events cycled on schedule, in the absence of S phase or mitosis, with a period similar to the cell-cycle time of wild-type cells. Oscillations of similar periodicity were observed in cells responding to mating pheromone in the absence of G1 cyclin (Cln)- and mitotic cyclin (Clb)-associated kinase activity, indicating that the oscillator may function independently of cyclin-dependent kinase dynamics. We also show that Clb-associated kinase activity is essential for ensuring dependencies by preventing the initiation of new G1 events when cell-cycle progression is delayed.
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