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Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria
Date:4/17/2014

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) An international team led by researchers at UC Davis has shown that the cyclin B1/Cdk1 protein complex, which plays a key role in cell division, also boosts the mitochondrial activity to power that process. This is the first time the complex has been shown to perform both jobs. This newfound ability could make cyclin B1/Cdk1 an excellent target to control cellular energy production, potentially advancing cancer care and regenerative medicine. The research was published online today in the journal Developmental Cell.

"These proteins not only control the cell cycle, but they also moonlight to increase mitochondrial energy," said lead author Jian Jian Li, director of Translational Research at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. "They synchronize these processes because the cell cycle cannot proceed without the extra energy."

The cyclin B1/Cdk1 complex has long been known to intervene at a critical point in the cell cycle, the G2 phase, during which cell division pauses after DNA replication to check for genetic damage. Once any damage has been repaired, the cell can move into mitosis (M) and begin dividing.

However, in addition to moving the cell cycle into mitosis, cyclin B1/Cdk1 also travels outside the nucleus to mitochondria the cell's power plants to boost energy production when the cell needs it most. Specifically, cyclin B1/Cdk1 phosphorylates (transfers energy to) a group of mitochondrial proteins (called complex I), increasing the organelles' ability to produce ATP, which powers most cellular activities. This coordination ensures the cell has enough energy to divide.

The team used both mouse and human cells, including breast cancer cells and normal human breast epithelial cells, to assess how cyclin B1/Cdk1controls mitochondrial energy metabolism during cell cycle G2/M progression. They found that increased mitochondrial protein p
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Contact: Dorsey Griffith
dorsey.griffith@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9118
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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