Cell cycle checkpoints: preventing an identity crisis

Science. 1996 Dec 6;274(5293):1664-72. doi: 10.1126/science.274.5293.1664.


Cell cycle checkpoints are regulatory pathways that control the order and timing of cell cycle transitions and ensure that critical events such as DNA replication and chromosome segregation are completed with high fidelity. In addition, checkpoints respond to damage by arresting the cell cycle to provide time for repair and by inducing transcription of genes that facilitate repair. Checkpoint loss results in genomic instability and has been implicated in the evolution of normal cells into cancer cells. Recent advances have revealed signal transduction pathways that transmit checkpoint signals in response to DNA damage, replication blocks, and spindle damage. Checkpoint pathways have components shared among all eukaryotes, underscoring the conservation of cell cycle regulatory machinery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / cytology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism


  • Cyclins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases