Ki67 is a Graded Rather than a Binary Marker of Proliferation versus Quiescence

Cell Rep. 2018 Jul 31;24(5):1105-1112.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.110.


Ki67 staining is widely used as a proliferation indicator in the clinic, despite poor understanding of this protein's function or dynamics. Here, we track Ki67 levels under endogenous control in single cells over time and find that Ki67 accumulation occurs only during S, G2, and M phases. Ki67 is degraded continuously in G1 and G0 phases, regardless of the cause of entry into G0/quiescence. Consequently, the level of Ki67 during G0 and G1 in individual cells is highly heterogeneous and depends on how long an individual cell has spent in G0. Thus, Ki67 is a graded rather than a binary marker both for cell-cycle progression and time since entry into quiescence.

Keywords: CDK2 activity; Ki67; heterogeneity; quiescence; single-cell tracking; time-lapse imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / genetics*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Single-Cell Analysis


  • Ki-67 Antigen