DNA damage triggers multiple checkpoint pathways to arrest cell cycle progression. Less is known about the mechanisms that allow resumption of the cell cycle once checkpoint signaling is silenced. Here we show that while in undamaged cells several redundant pathways can promote the onset of mitosis, this redundancy is lost in cells recovering from a DNA damage-induced arrest. We demonstrate that Plk1 is crucial for mitotic entry following recovery from DNA damage. However, Plk1 is no longer required in cells depleted of Wee1, and we could show that Plk1 is involved in the degradation of Wee1 at the onset of mitosis. Thus, our data show that the cell cycle machinery is reset in response to DNA damage and that cells become critically dependent on Plk1-mediated degradation of Wee1 for their recovery.
Copyright 2004 Cell Press