We have used the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to analyse the effects of in vitro mutagenesis of the four known phosphorylation sites in the chicken p34(cdc2) protein, Thr 14, Tyr 15, Thr 161 and Ser 277, upon cell cycle progression. We have studied both the effect of overexpression of mutant proteins in a cdc2+ background and assayed their ability to rescue null and temperature-sensitive alleles of cdc2. Mutations of Thr 14 and Tyr 15 within the ATP binding domain of p34(cdc2) that mimic constitutive phosphorylation cause dominant negative cell cycle arrest when overexpressed. In contrast, some substitutions that simulate permanent dephosphorylation of the corresponding sites advance dephosphorylation of the corresponding sites advance mitosis. These data confirm the model that p34(cdc2) function is negatively regulated by phosphorylation of residues in the ATP binding site. Mutagenesis of the conserved residue Thr 161 functionally inactivates p34(cdc2), and our data suggest that both phosphorylation and dephosphorylation events at Thr 161 are required for progression through the cell cycle. Mutations at the fourth site of phosphorylation. Ser 277, lead to cold-sensitive cell cycle arrest, in minimal but not rich growth medium, suggesting that this site is involved in monitoring the nutritional status of the cell.

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