A theory for controlling cell cycle dynamics using a reversibly binding inhibitor

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Nov 24;95(24):14190-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.24.14190.


We demonstrate, by using mathematical modeling of cell division cycle (CDC) dynamics, a potential mechanism for precisely controlling the frequency of cell division and regulating the size of a dividing cell. Control of the cell cycle is achieved by artificially expressing a protein that reversibly binds and inactivates any one of the CDC proteins. In the simplest case, such as the checkpoint-free situation encountered in early amphibian embryos, the frequency of CDC oscillations can be increased or decreased by regulating the rate of synthesis, the binding rate, or the equilibrium constant of the binding protein. In a more complex model of cell division, where size-control checkpoints are included, we show that the same reversible binding reaction can alter the mean cell mass in a continuously dividing cell. Because this control scheme is general and requires only the expression of a single protein, it provides a practical means for tuning the characteristics of the cell cycle in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cyclins / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclins