Non-canonical functions of cell cycle cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2016 May;17(5):280-92. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2016.27. Epub 2016 Apr 1.


The roles of cyclins and their catalytic partners, the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), as core components of the machinery that drives cell cycle progression are well established. Increasing evidence indicates that mammalian cyclins and CDKs also carry out important functions in other cellular processes, such as transcription, DNA damage repair, control of cell death, differentiation, the immune response and metabolism. Some of these non-canonical functions are performed by cyclins or CDKs, independently of their respective cell cycle partners, suggesting that there was a substantial divergence in the functions of these proteins during evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / physiology*
  • Cyclins / physiology*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Repair
  • Humans
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Cyclins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases