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To copy genes, or not to copy genes.

The cycle of cell division consists of four steps: a gene-copying phase, a pause, actual cell division, and a second pause. Most body cells repeat this cycle over and over again during the lifetime of an individual.

Four years ago, cell biologists discovered that an on-off interaction between two proteins determines when a cell rouses itself from the first pause and starts dividing. Now, another group of researchers has found that a similar interaction between two other proteins serves as the wake-up call that shakes a cell from its second pause and prompts it to copy its genes.

In the Sept. 18 SCIENCE, a team led by James Roberts of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle reports that human cells about to copy their genes have high levels of two proteins -- cyclin E and cyclin-dependent kinase 2. Roberts and his colleagues found that these proteins -- which usually exist independently within cells -- stick together as cells enter the gene-copying phase of the cell cycle. This suggests that the proteins act as molecular switches, Roberts says.
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Title Annotation:cell division cycle influenced by interaction of proteins
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 26, 1992
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