Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) coordinate hundreds of molecular events during the cell cycle. Multiple cyclins are involved, but the global role of cyclin-specific phosphorylation has remained unsolved. We uncovered a cyclin docking motif, LxF, that mediates binding of replication factor Cdc6 to mitotic cyclin. This interaction leads to phospho-adaptor Cks1-mediated inhibition of M-CDK to facilitate Cdc6 accumulation and sequestration in mitosis. The LxF motif and Cks1 also mediate the mutual inhibition between M-CDK and the tyrosine kinase Swe1. Additionally, the LxF motif is critical for targeting M-CDK to phosphorylate several mitotic regulators; for example, Spo12 is targeted via LxF to release the phosphatase Cdc14. The results complete the full set of G1, S, and M-CDK docking mechanisms and outline the unified role of cyclin specificity and CDK activity thresholds. Cooperation of cyclin and Cks1 docking creates a variety of CDK thresholds and switching orders, including combinations of last in, first out (LIFO) and first in, first out (FIFO) ordering.
Keywords: CDK; CDK inhibition; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; cell cycle; cyclin-dependent kinase; kinase docking; kinase specificity; mitosis.
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