In mammals, D-type cyclin-associated kinases mainly regulate the G1/S transition by phosphorylating the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein. We previously demonstrated that in tobacco, cyclin D (Nicta; CycD3;3) is complexed with the PSTAIRE-containing cyclin-dependent kinase (CDKA) from tobacco. Here, we show that Nicta; CycD3;3–associated kinases phosphorylate both the tobacco Rb-related protein (NtRb1) and histone H1. Although NtRb1 kinase activity was detected only during the middle G1- to early S-phase, histone H1 kinase activity was observed as two peaks in G1- to S-phase and G2/M- to M-phase. Importantly, we show that the proportion of cells in the G1-phase was reduced in transgenic Bright Yellow-2 cells overexpressing Nicta; CycD3;3-GFP . Mutational analyses revealed that phosphorylation of Thr-191 in Nicta; CycD3;3 possibly is required for both full kinase activity and localization predominantly to the nucleus. These data suggest that Nicta; CycD3;3 acts as a rate-limiting regulator in the G1/S transition by forming active complexes with CDKA or its related kinases to phosphorylate Rb-related protein and potentially plays a novel role during G2/M and mitosis.
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