The core function of the cell cycle is to duplicate the genome and divide the duplicated DNA into two daughter cells. These processes need to be carefully coordinated, as cell division before DNA replication is complete leads to genome instability and cell death. Recent observations show that DNA replication, far from being only a consequence of cell cycle progression, plays a key role in coordinating cell cycle activities. DNA replication, through checkpoint kinase signaling, restricts the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) that promote cell division. The S/G2 transition is therefore emerging as a crucial regulatory step to determine the timing of mitosis. Here we discuss recent observations that redefine the coupling between DNA replication and cell division and incorporate these insights into an updated cell cycle model for human cells. We propose a cell cycle model based on a single trigger and sequential releases of three molecular brakes that determine the kinetics of CDK activation.
© 2019 Lemmens and Lindqvist.