Ostreococcus tauri (Prasinophyceae) is a marine unicellular green alga which diverged early in the green lineage. The interest of O. tauri as a potential model to study plant cell division is based on its key phylogenetic position, its simple binary division, a very simple cellular organisation and now the availability of the full genome sequence. In addition O. tauri has a minimal yet complete set of cell cycle control genes. Here we show that division can be naturally synchronised by light/dark cycles and that organelles divide before the nucleus. This natural synchronisation, although being only partial, enables the study of the expression of CDKs throughout the cell cycle. The expression patterns of OtCDKA and OtCDKB were determined both at the mRNA and protein levels. The single OtCDKA gene is constantly expressed throughout the cell cycle, whereas OtCDKB is highly regulated and expressed only in S/G2/M phases. More surprisingly, OtCDKA is not phosphorylated at the tyrosine residue, in contrast to OtCDKB which is strongly phosphorylated during cell division. OtCDKA kinase activity appears before the S phase, indicating a possible role of this protein in the G1/S transition. OtCDKB kinase activity occurs later than OtCDKA, and its tyrosine phosphorylation is correlated to G2/M, suggesting a possible control of the mitotic activity. To our knowledge this is the first organism in the green lineage which showed CDKB tyrosine phosphorylation during cell cycle progression.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2005
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