The Plant cell

The D-type cyclin CYCD3;1 is limiting for the G1-to-S-phase transition in Arabidopsis.

PMID 16517759


The G1-to-S-phase transition is a key regulatory point in the cell cycle, but the rate-limiting component in plants is unknown. Overexpression of CYCLIN D3;1 (CYCD3;1) in transgenic plants increases mitotic cycles and reduces endocycles, but its effects on cell cycle progression cannot be unambiguously determined. To analyze the cell cycle roles of plant D-type cyclins, we overexpressed CYCD3;1 in Arabidopsis thaliana cell suspension cultures. Changes in cell number and doubling time were insignificant, but cultures exhibited an increased proportion of G2- over G1-phase cells, as well as increased G2 arrest in response to stationary phase and sucrose starvation. Synchronized cultures confirm that CYCD3;1-expressing (but not CYCD2;1-expressing) cells show increased G2-phase length and delayed activation of mitotic genes such as B-type cyclins, suggesting that CYCD3;1 has a specific G1/S role. Analysis of putative cyclin-dependent kinase phosphorylation sites within CYCD3;1 shows that mutating Ser-343 to Ala enhances CYCD3;1 potency without affecting its rate of turnover and results in a fivefold increase in the level of cell death in response to sucrose removal. We conclude that CYCD3;1 dominantly drives the G1/S transition, and in sucrose-depleted cells the decline in CYCD3;1 levels leads to G1 arrest, which is overcome by ectopic CYCD3;1 expression. Ser-343 is likely a key residue in modulating CYCD3;1 activity in response to sucrose depletion.

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