News of the WeekCell Biology

Trigger for Centrosome Replication Found

Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 770-771
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.770

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When cells divide, the centrosome, a small structure located near the nucleus, plays a key role. First it replicates, and then, via the protein cables that radiate from it, helps pull the duplicated chromosomes apart, ensuring that both daughter cells get full chromosome complements. Now, in work described on page 851, scientists have identified a trigger for centrosome replication. It's a familiar character: an enzyme called Cdk2, already known to help drive cells through the division cycle when activated by another protein, known as cyclin E. By helping explain how the cell cycle and centrosome replication are linked so that the centrosome is copied just once and at just the right time, the finding may help researchers figure out how the replication might go awry, with potentially disastrous consequences such as cancer.