Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Cdt1 plays a key role in licensing DNA for replication. In the somatic cells of metazoans, both Cdt1 and its natural inhibitor geminin show reciprocal fluctuations in their protein levels owing to cell cycle-dependent proteolysis. Here, we show that the protein levels of Cdt1 and geminin are persistently high during the rapid cell cycles of the early Xenopus embryo. Immunoprecipitation of Cdt1 and geminin complexes, together with their cell cycle spatiotemporal dynamics, strongly supports the hypothesis that Cdt1 licensing activity is regulated by periodic interaction with geminin rather than its proteolysis. Overexpression of ectopic geminin slows down, but neither arrests early embryonic cell cycles nor affects endogenous geminin levels; apparent embryonic lethality is observed around 3-4 hours after mid-blastula transition. However, functional knockdown of geminin by Delta Cdt1_193-447, which lacks licensing activity and degradation sequences, causes cell cycle arrest and DNA damage in affected cells. This contributes to subsequent developmental defects in treated embryos. Our results clearly show that rapidly proliferating early Xenopus embryonic cells are able to regulate replication licensing in the persistent presence of high levels of licensing proteins by relying on changing interactions between Cdt1 and geminin during the cell cycle, but not their degradation.