Cyclin aggregation and robustness of bio-switching

Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Nov;14(11):4695-706. doi: 10.1091/mbc.e03-04-0248. Epub 2003 Aug 7.


During the cell cycle, Cdc2-cyclin B kinase abruptly becomes active and triggers the entry into mitosis/meiosis. Recently, it was found that inactive Cdc2-cyclin B is present in aggregates in immature starfish oocytes and becomes disaggregated at the time of its activation during maturation. We discuss a possible scenario in which aggregation of Cdc2-cyclin B dramatically enhances robustness of this activation. In this scenario, only inactive Cdc2-cyclin B can form aggregates, and the aggregates are in equilibrium with inactive Cdc2-cyclin B in solution. During maturation, the hormone-triggered inactivation of Myt1 depletes the soluble inactive Cdc2-cyclin B and the turnover leads to dissolution of the aggregates. This phase change, when coupled with the instability of the signaling network, provides a robust bio-switch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / metabolism*
  • Cyclin B / metabolism*
  • Meiosis
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Starfish / embryology
  • Starfish / metabolism*


  • Cyclin B
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase