We have recently demonstrated that negative regulation of human Cdc25 protein phosphatases by phosphorylation at their 14-3-3 site can be antagonized through phosphorylation at an adjacent site in the -2 position.1 Based on structural homology for different Cdc25 phosphatases, a similar regulatory pathway also could be conserved in Xenopus embryos, where cell cycle checkpoints are not operational prior to the Midblastula Transition (MBT). Here, we demonstrate that before MBT, XeCdc25C is phosphorylated on Ser285, an analogous site to Ser214 in human Cdc25C or Ser307 Cdc25B.(1) Phosphorylation of Ser285 prevents subsequent inhibitory phosphorylation of XeCdc25C on Ser287, thus maintaining XeCdc25C in an active form. Mutation of Ser285 to alanine allows the reconstitution of a DNA damage replication checkpoint. This effect is completely dependent on Ser287 phosphorylation as additional mutation of Ser287 to alanine fully reversed the cell cycle inhibitory effect of Ser285A XeCdc25C. We propose that phosphorylation of XeCdc25C Ser285 may account for the lack of a DNA replication checkpoint in cleaving Xenopus embryos prior to the MBT.