Positive feedback keeps duration of mitosis temporally insulated from upstream cell-cycle events


Cell division is characterized by a sequence of events by which a cell gives rise to two daughter cells. Quantitative measurements of cell-cycle dynamics in single cells showed that despite variability in G1-, S-, and G2 phases, duration of mitosis is short and remarkably constant. Surprisingly, there is no correlation between cell-cycle length and mitotic duration, suggesting that mitosis is temporally insulated from variability in earlier cell-cycle phases. By combining live cell imaging and computational modeling, we showed that positive feedback is the molecular mechanism underlying the temporal insulation of mitosis. Perturbing positive feedback gave rise to a sluggish, variable entry and progression through mitosis and uncoupled duration of mitosis from variability in cell cycle length. We show that positive feedback is important to keep mitosis short, constant, and temporally insulated and anticipate it might be a commonly used regulatory strategy to create modularity in other biological systems.

Journal details

Journal Molecular Cell
Volume 64
Issue number 2
Pages 362-375
Available online
Publication date