It is generally accepted that progression through the eukaryotic cell cycle is driven by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which are regulated by interaction with oscillatory expressed proteins called cyclins. CDKs may be separated into 2 categories: essential and non-essential. Understandably, more attention has been focused on essential CDKs because they are shown to control cell cycle progression to a greater degree. After clearly determining the basic and "core" mechanisms of essential CDKs, several questions arise. What role do non-essential CDKs play? Are these CDKs functionally redundant and do they serve as a mere backup? Or might they be responsible for some accessory tasks in cell cycle progression or control? In the present review we will try to answer these questions based on recent findings on the involvement of non-essential CDKs in cell cycle progression. We will analyse the most recent information with regard to these questions in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a well-established eukaryotic model, and in its unique non-essential CDK involved in the cell cycle, Pho85. We will also briefly extend our discussion to higher eukaryotic systems.
Keywords: CDK (cyclin-dependent kinase); Pho85; S. cerevisiae; cell cycle.