The EMBO journal

Fission yeast pheromone blocks S-phase by inhibiting the G1 cyclin B-p34cdc2 kinase.

PMID 9034336


Yeast pheromones block cell cycle progression in G1 in order to prepare mating partners for conjugation. We have investigated the mechanism underlying pheromone-induced G1 arrest in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We find that the G1-specific transcription factor p65cdc10-p72res1/sct1 which controls the expression of S-phase genes is fully activated in pheromone, unlike the analogous control in budding yeast. In contrast, the G1 function of p34cdc2 acting after activation of the G1-specific transcription is blocked. Pheromone inhibits the p34cdc2 kinase associated with both the G1-specific B-type cyclin p45cig2 and the B-type cyclin p56cdc13 and overexpression of p45cig2 or p47cdc13delta90 overcomes the pheromone-induced G1 arrest. G1 arrest is compromised in enlarged cells. We suggest that onset of S-phase is controlled by pheromone inhibiting the B-cyclin-associated kinase in G1, and that increasing cell size contributes to the mechanism for pheromone adaptation. Thus, pheromone in fission and budding yeast acts similarly in inhibiting the G1 cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), but differs in its effects on the G1/S transcriptional control, suggesting that inhibition of CDKs may be a more general mechanism for the control of G1 progression compared with G1/S transcriptional control.