Fission yeast cells tolerate the total absence of the cdc25 mitotic inducer in two cases, either in cdc2-3w or in wee1 genetic backgrounds. In the cdc2-3w cdc25Delta double mutant, the rate-limiting step leading to mitosis is reaching a critical size. However, the size control of this mutant operates in late G2, which is different from wild-type (WT) cells. This fact suggests that in WT the rate-limiting molecular process during the G2 timer is the Tyr15 dephosphorylation of cdc2, for which the cdc25 phosphatase (together with its back-up, pyp3) is dependent. In the wee1-50 cdc25Delta mutant, the population splits into different clusters, all lacking mitotic size control. This strain maintains size homeostasis by a novel method, which is random movement of the cells from one cluster to another in the successive generations. These cells should normally have a ‘minimal cycle’, a ‘timer’ with short G1 and G2 phases. However, very often the cells abort mitosis, possibly at an early event and return back to early G2, thus lengthening their cycles. The inability of these cells to start anaphase might be caused by the absence of the main mitotic regulators (wee1 and cdc25) and the improper regulation of their back-up copies (mik1 and pyp3, respectively).
An analysis was made of cell length and cycle time in time-lapse films of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe using wild-type (WT) cells and those of various mutants. The more important conclusions about ‘size controls’ are: (1) there is a marker in G2 in WT cells provided by a rate change point (RCP) where the linear rate of length growth increases by approximately 30%. The period before this RCP is dependent on size and can be called a ‘sizer’. The period after the RCP is nearly independent of size and can be called a ‘timer’. The achievement of a critical threshold size is at or near the RCP which is on average at about 0.3 of the cycle (halfway through G2). This is much earlier than was previously believed. (2) The RCP is at about the time when H1 histone kinase activity and the B type cyclin cdc13 start to rise in preparation for mitosis. The RCP is also associated with other metabolic changes. (3) In wee1 mutants, the mitotic size control is replaced by a G1/S size control which is as strong as the mitotic control. As in WT cells, there is a sizer which precedes the RCP followed by a timer but the RCP is at about the G1/S boundary and has a larger increase (approximately 100%) in rate. (4) cdc25 is not an essential part of the size control at mitosis or at the G1/S boundary. (5) Three further situations have been examined in which the mitotic size control has been abolished. First, induction synchronisation by block and release of cdc2 and cdc10. In the largest oversize-cells which are produced, the RCP is pushed back to the beginning of the cycle. There is no sizer period but only a timer. Second, when both the antagonists wee1 and cdc25 are absent in the double mutant wee1-50 cdc25 delta. In this interesting situation there is apparently no mitotic size control and the cycle times are quantised. Third, in rum1 delta wee1-50 where the normal long G1 in wee1 is much reduced, there is probably no size control either in G1 or in G2 causing a continuous shortening of division length from cycle to cycle.
CO2 production was followed by manometry in starved cell-free extracts of fission yeast stimulated by unstarved cell-free extracts from a synchronous culture. The degree of stimulus, measured by the lag time in CO2 production, varied markedly during the cell cycle, with a maximum for cells at about mitosis and a minimum for septated cells. Similar differences in lag time were found with unstarved extracts of cdc13.117 grown at 37 degrees C and 35 degrees C.