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EMBO J. 1995 May 1;14(9):1878-91.

Regulation of the human WEE1Hu CDK tyrosine 15-kinase during the cell cycle.

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Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


In higher eukaryotes, the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are negatively regulated by phosphorylation on threonine 14 (T14) and tyrosine 15 (Y15). In fission yeast, the Wee1 and mitosis inhibitory kinase 1 (Mik1) protein kinases phosphorylate Y15 in Cdc2. WEE1Hu is the only known protein kinase that can carry out this inhibitory phosphorylation on Y15 in higher eukaryotes. In the present study, we examined the endogenous products of WEE1Hu in human cells and found that the original WEE1Hu cDNA lacked 214 amino acids at the N-terminus. The predicted full-length protein has weak, but significant, similarity over its entire length with Mik1. Thus, we suggest that 'WEE1Hu' is a Mik1-related protein rather than a Wee1 homologue. When isolated in immunoprecipitates, the endogenous WEE1Hu phosphorylated several cyclin-associated CDKs on Y15. WEE1Hu activity increased during S and G2 phases in parallel with the level of protein. Its activity decreased at M phase when WEE1Hu became transiently hyperphosphorylated. In addition, a decrease in WEE1Hu protein level was observed at M/G1 phase. Apparently, the hyperphosphorylation and degradation in combination caused inactivation of WEE1Hu at M phase and the following G1 phase. These results suggest that the activity of WEE1Hu is regulated by phosphorylation and proteolytic degradation, and that WEE1Hu plays a role in inhibiting mitosis before M phase by phosphorylating cyclin B1-Cdc2.

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