The human polo-like kinase, PLK, regulates cdc2/cyclin B through phosphorylation and activation of the cdc25C phosphatase

Cell Signal. 2000 Jun;12(6):405-11. doi: 10.1016/s0898-6568(00)00080-2.


Entry into mitosis by mammalian cells is triggered by the activation of the cdc2/cyclin B holoenzyme. This is accomplished by the specific dephosphorylation of key residues by the cdc25C phosphatase. The polo-like kinases are a family of serine/threonine kinases which are also implicated in the control of mitotic events, but their exact regulatory mechanism is not known. Recently, a Xenopus homologue, PLX1, was reported to phosphorylate and activate cdc25, leading to activation of cdc2/cyclin B. Jurkat T leukemia cells were chemically arrested and used to verify that PLK protein expression and its phosphorylation state is regulated with respect to cell cycle phase (i.e., protein is undetectable at G1/S, accumulates at S phase and is modified at G2/M). Herein, we show for the first time that endogenous human PLK protein immunoprecipitated from the G2/M-arrested Jurkat cells directly phosphorylates human cdc25C. In addition, we demonstrate that recombinant human (rh) PLK also phosphorylates rhcdc25C in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Phosphorylation of endogenous cdc25C and recombinant cdc25C by PLK resulted in the activation of the phosphatase as assessed by dephosphorylation of cdc2/cyclin B. These data are the first to demonstrate that human PLK is capable of phosphorylating and positively regulating human cdc25C activity, allowing cdc25C to dephosphorylate inactive cdc2/cyclin B. As this event is required for cell cycle progression, we define at least one key regulatory mode of action for human PLK in the initiation of mitosis.

MeSH terms

  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cyclin B / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • cdc25 Phosphatases / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclin B
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • polo-like kinase 1
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase
  • CDC25C protein, human
  • cdc25 Phosphatases